Every Sunday morning hundreds, if not thousands, of people descend on Bathurst St in the centre of Hobart at the Farm Gate Market where local producers from small holdings bring their freshly picked or caught produce.
However, with the constraints of the Corona virus, there was a moment when the market might be closed down permanently. Obviously this would penalise growers, meat producers and fishermen and it would penalise members of the community who like their food to be local (carbon emissions reduction) and like their food grown without pesticides and fungicides, and grown with love and care. After the Easter Sunday market was cancelled, it was reinstated the following Sunday with many new procedures in place.
That day I walked from the eastern shore into the city and, as I passed along Bathurst St heading towards the market, I could see a couple of blocks in the distance, a very spaced out ‘crowd’. I realised this was another example of the ‘new normal’.
On arrival at the market my hands were sprayed with antiseptic cleanser, I was counted in (and counted out when I left) and then free to wander with the proviso I should try and keep around two arm lengths away from people where I could.
I was impressed that many crosses had been chalked onto the ground as part of queues to different stalls. Visitors picked up on these cues easily and with the spacing out, the market was very airy. But it didn’t stop the happy chatter between strangers.
The queue for the sourbread stall snaked around the corner and was constantly a fair length along Elizabeth St heading towards North Hobart – a testament to how valued that bread is.
I was impressed with the friendly demeanour of the security personal, the restraints and care of the visitors, and the smart processes which generous sellers used to help you buy their produce. It was a terrific experience and I am so grateful that this important farmers market has been allowed to continue.
The most exciting find for me (and the lightest in weight) was a stall selling one product but which had two boxes of strange mushroom/fungi because the seller had gone for a walk near his home. I came away with a handful of each after learning they were freshly picked in a local pine forest. The stall seller told me their names and the cooking style for each. I look forward to creating a simple pasta meal with them.
After purchasing lots of wonderful vegetables, I hefted an extra nine kilos of weight as I walked for the hour and half home. Needless to say I needed to put my feet up and enjoy a cuppa after that trip.