We thought we should re-blog this interesting article from The Food Exchange - Enjoy!
Often a lack of easy access to fresh fruit and vegetables can encourage us to reach for convenient processed package foods when thinking of a snack. Not all of us have the time or space to grow our own food. An important objective for our community should be to have access to fresh, seasonal, locally grown food at a reasonable price. When putting pen to paper in an attempt to write a positive story about access to fresh fruit and vegetables I was surprised to discover so many traditional green grocer stores in our region have closed down. Why?
I thought I would have a chat to a local veggie producer and green grocer to shed some light on the issue. So I asked Farmer Robbie Keck of Somerset Heritage Produce his thoughts on the issue. Robbie said, “Remember when you were a kid and could walk down the street and see mountains of mandarins and apples looking at your adoringly saying 'oh come over here and eat me'. There would be a lovely fruiterer stacking his shelves will all kinds of well cared for fresh produce happy to take your 50c piece and off you would go happy as a busy bee.
In the early days the farmers thought 'what a great idea'. They could sell all their produce to one supplier and not have to worry about anything until the next harvest rolled around. Eventually a large portion of the supply chain was controlled by the multinationals with prices set by them. Well unfortunately they were priced out of the market by the 'super' markets that often cut out the wholesaler allowing the big boys to undercut the local grocer. The little fruit and veg shops disappeared from our social fabric under immense pressure of low prices. Now our farmers have lost other avenues of sale if they wish to escape the corporate strong hold.
That’s why we need to stand up to the 'super' markets and provide people with what they deserve which is the best vegetables in the world. I am not even boasting because the truth is the best vegetables in the world are grown in peoples backyards all around Australia and the world and at Somerset Heritage Produce we try to grow vegetables 'backyard style' organically and just on a bigger scale so if you don't have them in your backyard you can come to ours. We care about people not profits, all the people we buy produce from us are happy with the deal they are getting and in return look after us. And that folks is how the world should be.”
If you’d like to hear more discussions with Farmer Robbie head to our website and take a listen to our recent radio show podcast (6 June 2014).
Where to get your fresh fruit and veg - Support a local
Beechworth: Goldfields Greengrocer, Ford Street
Bendigo: Bendigo Wholefoods, 314 Lyttleton Terrace
Broadford: Veggies Plus, 93 High Street
Benalla: Fruits N Fare, 164 Bridge Street
Seymour: Somerset Heritage Produce, 1 Emily Street, every Friday from 11am-5pm
Shepparton: Finer Fruit, 35 Vaughan Street
Wodonga: Arnold’s Fruit Market, Osburn Street
Apologies to any green grocers I may have missed. Please get in touch if you wish to join this list for a future story email@example.com
And don’t forget your local Farmer’s Market! You’ll find more info on local food producers, suppliers and markets on this website.