The Kingscote Farmers Market is going strong even as the winter chill hits Kangaroo Island.
A sunny Mother’s Day however helped boost crowd numbers on Sunday
Dad-to-be Simon O’Brien, who on Sunday was on call for his partner to give birth to their first child, is one of the key founders of the market, along with Esther Stevens, Naomi O’Donnell and Gina Tickner.
They all work hard to keep the market going, with the help of other locals, on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.
“We set it up for the community first and foremost,” Simon said. “Tourists are welcome of course, but it’s really community focussed. We do it for the community and that’s our number one motivation.”
“We started down at the school about four years ago with just four or five stalls and now we have anywhere up to 20 or 30 stalls depending on the time of year.”
While Simon sells the vegetables he grows, Naomi sells her D’Estrees Bakery bred and can’t recall a market day ever being cancelled, rain, hail or shine.
She is hoping the expand the market with an Out of My Back Yard or OOMBY stall soon, where locals can bring their own garden produce to sell.
“It’s all about local KI produce, every now and then we get stalls from the mainland,” she said. “We are trying to encourage more people to bring in their excess produce.”
Also at the market is “scallop man” Paul Palacco has been involved from the beginning selling his much sought-after scallops.
Most of his scallops go straight to the fish markets, so it is a treat to be able get to taste these delicious morsels that are not available anywhere else on the island.
Not only is there delicious food for sale but also locally made art and craft, such as the African drums made by KI local Sam Oshodi.
The sense of community of Sunday was strong with the walkers from the Mother’s Day walk against cancer all gathering in the cellar door garden.
The KI Cancer Support Group also set up a stall on Sunday to help with its fundraising.
The market is made possible through a partnership with the Bay of Shoals Winery, who starting about two years ago graciously allows the stalls to set up outside its cellar door, getting a ready-made crowd in return.
The Penneshaw Farmers Market meanwhile happens on the first Sunday of the month, and it gets valuable support from SeaLink.
The Kingscote market organisers are hoping to apply for some grant funding to help with promotion and the ongoing operation, including paying for entertainment and insurance.