Man and woman working at banana stall
Banana and strawberry farmers Paul and Di West will be one of the 150 stallholders to have their produce listed for online shopping.(ABC Rural, Jennifer Nichols)

Organisers of the sprawling Noosa farmers’ markets are hoping to take on the major supermarkets with the launch of an online ‘click-and-collect’ and home delivery service.

Key points:

  • The online shopping service will benefit both time-poor consumers and local producers
  • Orders can be placed in advanced, then collected on market day or shoppers can opt for the paid home delivery service 
  • The initiative is possible thanks to a state government grant

Thousands of people flock to the iconic markets on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast each Sunday to soak up the atmosphere and snap up home-grown food and homemade wares.

Shane and Ishtarlia Stanley have operated the event for more than 20 years and believe going online will help the market’s local farmers and producers.

“It’s an important step in the evolution of the local food network,” Mr Stanley said.

“This will allow our farmers to expand production and give time-poor residents access to food that in many cases was in the paddock just hours beforehand.

“Buyers can see who’s growing the food and where it’s actually growing.”

Man in blue business shirt at food market with others
Agricultural Minister Mark Furner is taken around the market by Shane and Ishtarlia Stanley (both wearing green shirts).(Supplied, Noosa Farmers Market)

As of last week, consumers can place their orders online through the market’s website, with purchases across different stalls aggregated into the one transaction.

Online buyers can then collect their goods at the market’s collection point at Rococo Field at Noosaville on market day.

Mr Stanley said they’ve also launched a home delivery service for an $18 fee.

He said the advantage, unlike the big chain supermarkets, was that there was no extra cost for stallholders.

“Supermarkets have been doing it for a long time and they buy everything wholesale, put the mark up on it, and then deliver it,” Mr Stanley said.

“The best part of our service is the farmer still get the profits.”

Mr Stanley said the online system will also help stallholders stock appropriately for sales.

“[Previously] the farmer just brings the produce to the market. [Now] they’ll get a report each week summarising their [online] sales … so if it’s any extra they’ll be able to prepare in time for that,” he said.

No parking? No problem

The Eumundi Roses co-owner, Lyn Bayfield, is a stallholder that is set to benefit from the ‘click-and-collect’ initiative.

A woman handing over two bunches of flowers, sunflowers and gerberas.
Flower grower and florist Lyn Bayfield says the change will be good for stallholders(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

About 150 producers deal direct to the public, providing fresh food. This year there are 2,000 products from across the region that are sold to a local and tourist market.

“It’s a great idea because it’s about local farmers bringing their fresh produce straight to the car boot,” Ms Bayfield said.

“One of the biggest issues at the market is the problem with parking, so this is a way around that.

“For us it’s going to mean we may have to bring more to the markets, but we may have more of an idea as to what and how much will be needed ahead of time.”

Partnership to assist farmers

Agricultural Minister Mark Furner recently visited the markets to launch the initiative.

He said the move to online shopping was made possible with the help of a state government grant. 

“Generally, these days people are time poor, so it’s a fantastic outcome,” Minister Furner said.

Aerial view of large produce market
The initiative has turned the traditional farmers’ market experience on its head.(Supplied, Noosa Farmers Market)

He said it was a milestone made possible through a partnership between the market owners, farmers, producers and artisans.

“Supporting your local farmers’ market means supporting local farmers and local jobs.

“It’s fantastic that you can now do that from home at the touch of a button,” Minister Furner said.

The ‘click-and-collect’ and home delivery initiative will soon be expanded to the Kawana Waters farmers’ market.

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