"Go to the Canberra Markets Lou," one of our market friends said. "You will sell all your lamb in one go!" Others say, "you used to live in Sydney, you should sell all your produce there, you'd have a ready market".
People often ask us why we don't go to Canberra or Sydney Markets to sell our produce. We know that we could 'compete' at these markets with our produce - there is no timidity about that. We probably could sell all our lamb at once at a Canberra or Sydney Market but we don't want to!
We have very good reasons, we think, not to go to markets in Canberra and Sydney. Here they are, see what you think!
1. The Capital Cities already get the loads of Good Food
All food is drawn to the capitals because the populations are big, the incomes are bigger and there is arguably more of a foodie culture in the cities. But they are swimming in good food. They don't need us to turn up with our produce as well.
Related to this point is our second reason for not going to the capitals...
2. Rural and Regional People Deserve to eat Great Food Too!
If all the good food goes up and down the highway, what does the foodie do in a regional city when they want fantastic gluten and preservative free sausages (for instance). In every town there are foodies who really appreciate good food. I want to feed them!
3. WE BELIEVE IN LOCAL FOOD!
Yep, I'm yelling it in capitals! We think that keeping food local is one way we try to do things differently. Customers often ask where our farm is, they mention that they used to live near there or their uncle used to shear near there or they'd noticed our sign while driving to Tumut or... People get warm and fuzzies knowing that there food has not come from far away.
4. WE BELIEVE IN LOW FOOD MILES!
Yep, I'm yelling again! There is already too many food miles in our food. We think that keeping the food miles as low as possible we are being part of the solution to climate change instead of adding to it. We grow our lamb 20 mins from the abattoir, 75 minutes from the butcher that cuts up for us and makes our smallgoods and we have a policy of not travelling any more than 1.5 hours from a market to sell our produce.
5. We believe in being as different as possible from the orthodox food systems
Anything you buy from Colesworths of this world, or even Harris Farm, have loads of food miles. If we took our food to Canberra or Sydney we too would be adding unnecessary food miles to our produce. If we profess to be 'alternative ' farmers , if we aim to do things differently, why on earth would we want to emulate the mainstream and send everything we produce to the city?
6. We have to farm, yep we are farmers!
We need to spend time on the farm to farm and we want to sell our produce ourselves. We think our customers want that too - we think you want to meet the producer. We don't hire people to sell our stuff for us because just as our food is paddock to plate so we think it should be sold from the farmer to the customer.
Yes, we farm our property - they are our sheep and cattle, we make the condiments, we collect the eggs, we tend to our animals and sometimes we lay down in the grass or cuddle our dogs. Yep, we are the farmers, not a farm manager, not our relatives, it's us! Not everyone you see at market stalls are the farmers.
If we go to local markets we are not wasting time travelling and we have more time to do what we want to do - be with our animals.
Anyway that's why we sell where we sell. That's our rationale. There is more to farm ethics than just your production system and your animal welfare approach. Keeping food local, reducing food miles and keeping the link between farmer is food is important to us too.