May 18 – Michelle

May 18th, Mildura

Today was an early start for us, breakfast was at 6:30 at Calperum Station and then we departed for the city of Mildura which is located in the state of Victoria. We had a nice stay at the Calperum Station and made plenty of critter friends (spiders & scorpions) in our bunks. I in particular had a scorpion friend try to make a home out of my suitcase, but I figured it was best he stay at Calperum Station. Our bus drive was a couple of hours to the city of Mildura where we would be visiting the Sunraysia Farmers Market. Unfortunately we had to reschedule our Sun Salt Farm visit so the Farmers Market was our only visit of the day.

Me, Bri and Aubyn with the Sunraysia Farm Mascot

Myself, Bri and Aubyn hanging out with the Sunraysia Farmers Market Mascot

We were given about an hour and a half to roam the Farmers Market, which seemed like a good chunk of time until we saw all the stuff it had to offer! The farmers market was loaded with goodies like fresh produce, jarred jams and condiments, dried fruits, olive oils and dressings, baked goods, meat products, alcoholic beverages, fresh juices, soaps, shampoos and lotions, and so much more. There were a variety of different stands all of which were located within the city park which gave it a nice local atmosphere.

Fresh Produce in the Market

Fresh Produce, yummy pomegranates

Organically Grown Grapes in Market

Organically Grown Grapes in Market, large bunches were quite inexpensive

Dried Red Chili

Dried Red Chili

Allergen friendly stand for people like me who are gluten intolerant.

Allergen friendly stand for people like me who are gluten intolerant, nice to see stands for people with different needs

Everything at the market was locally sourced and Australian grown. Sunraysia Farms, the farm that organizes the market, has all stand holders within the market be certified. To be certified for this particular market all stands must provide goods that are homemade and locally grown. Most stand holders at the market told us that they drive no more than an hour to come and sell their products at the market. The Sunraysia criteria of entry into selling within the market are strict in that everything being sold is local which really helps in supporting their local economy.

Sunraysia Stand Certification

Sunraysia Stand Certification, to be a standholder in the market they must this certificate

Seeing all of the wonderful products that these local farms and businesses had to offer was very refreshing. I had the chance to talk with two organic farmers from Karra Organic Farm, they told me that all of their product was strictly organic meaning it was certifiable grown organically. They also explained to me that the extra fruits they do not sell at the market they use to make fruit leathers and dried fruits. Knowing the product does not go waste is good to know because they are making use of something that would otherwise be discarded. Another stand I had the chance to chat with was the Mourguong Ridge Fine Food Supplier, the husband and wife running the stand told me that they too used the extra fruit they did not sell in the market for dried fruits and jams. This seemed to be a recurring trend at the market because the Varapodio Estate stand uses all of their extra olive oil that is not bottled for shampoo, conditioner and lotion products.

Karra Organic Farm Stand

New friends from Karra Organic Farm Stand

Varapodio Olive Oil Stand

Varapodio Olive Oil Stand, a site we will visit on the 21st of May

Walking around it was obvious that all the produce were fresh because there was very little packaging and every stand was knowledgeable of what they were offering. The market was a good place to not only buy fresh products but spend a couple of hours eating lunch and interacting with the community. It seemed that many of the consumers were not only local, but weekly visitors. Everyone at the market brought their own bags that were generously filled by the time they were done. I saw mostly smiles as people of all ages were leaving from the market, this could have been because it was friendly for all ages. We made sure to get pictures with the Sunraysia Farms Mascot and Ranger Roo.

don't be fooled, its not literally buddhas hand, just 'budahs hands' a citrus primarily used for zesting

don’t be fooled, its not literally Buddhas hand, just ‘Budahs hands’ a citrus primarily used for zesting

Fruit Leather made from extra fruits

Fruit Leather, natures real fruit roll up

Myself and Jeff with Ranger Roo

Ranger Roo with a couple Spartans

Aubyn and I on one of the house boats for sale at the market! (fresh orange slushie in hand)

Aubyn and I on one of the house boats for sale at the market! (fresh orange slushie in hand)

The crew left the market with plenty of snacks as we headed to our new home at the Mildura Golden River Holiday Park, where I have yet to make any critter friends. Darn. Flick had an awesome meal prepared for lunch and then some people went off to the local footie match. She also gave us t-shirts after our Thai Soup dinner with our MSU logo and ‘Down Under with Truly Tribal’ on the back, she is awesome! With happy stomachs and some relaxation everyone went to bed feeling pretty good, ready for our canoeing adventure down the Murray in the morning! Hugs and love to my mates back home, we’re all smiles here!(read below for a list of some sustainable practices of the Sunraysia Farmers Market).

Sustainable Practices of Sunraysia Farmers Market(list attained from personal observation):

  • limited packaging– products are not packaged at all or in simple bags/containers, and not in bulk amounts
  • the market provides customers with Eco-friendly reusable shopping bags
  • all stand holders within the market are local and travel small distances to get to the market
  • some stands reuse products they do not sell to make derivative products like jams/jellies for future sale in the market, this helps to reduce waste of goods
  • local businesses are promoted within the market to help encourage economic growth and support
  • a diverse array of stands, each stand offers something different so socially it could accommodate the needs of many different people
  • for the most part goods are left unpacked and priced depending on amount consumer would like to purchase, also reducing waste

feel free to comment below if interested in more sustainable practices and information attained from our trip to the market! – Michelle

Works Cited:
“Great Things to See and Do in and around Mildura.” Great Things to See and Do in and around Mildura. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.
“Mildura Eco Living Park.” Mildura Sustainable Living Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.
“Mildura History Dates Back over 40,000 Years.” Mildura History Dates Back over 40,000 Years. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.
“Mildura Information & Attractions – Travel Victoria: Accommodation & Visitor Guide.” Mildura Information & Attractions – Travel Victoria: Accommodation & Visitor Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.
“Murray River Gourmet Salt.” Murray River Gourmet Salt. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.
Study Abroad. Sunraysia Farmers Market. Personal Visit, n.d. Web. 18 May 2013.
“Sunraysia Farmers Market – Mildura’s Market by the Murray River.” Sunraysia Farmers Market – Mildura’s Market by the Murray River. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.
“Weather in Australia – Victoria – Mildura.” Mildura, Victoria, Australia Weather and Forecast. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2013.

7 Comments

7 thoughts on “May 18 – Michelle

  1. Mary Beth Kramer

    The markets just sound wonderful to me! Wish we had more here! You can keep the critters and scorpions in Australia, though!!

  2. Brad Jacokes

    Michelle, great update on the market! What would it take to start something like that here on a large scale?

    • rubinsc1

      It would depend on the scale you are talking about. The famer’s market in Mildura was large but not overwhelming. Something like that could be done in the states by gathering local support and appreciation for fresh organic foods. But if the sclae you’re talking about is that of a supermarket like Kroger, it would take federal government policy change to support local growers, because as it stands now it is simply not economical for organic and local farmers to produce at such a large scale. Also these large markets supply food out of market, so rather than a drop-in it may be better to consider a paradigm shift in how we approach the market as a whole. By that I mean that individually we must make the choice to eat local food and support local farmers in order to make that sort of change on a large scale.

  3. I didn’t notice that the stands at the farmers market were all certified locally grown, cooI! I loved seeing the farmers market, I had never been to one before and I think I will definitley go to them at home now because it was so cool and great for the local environment and economy. I also noticed what you did about the minimal packaging on the products and it was really interesting because you knew they did it because it was more convenient for them, but they also were helping the environment without really needing to cut back on anything because they were doing it already! I also really liked seeing the olive oil at the market that we learned a few days later about how it was made!

  4. This market has definitely been my favorite one that we’ve been to so far! I liked the fact that it was outside, it felt less crowded and it was easier to talk to the vendors. It was nice to see that the Varapodio Oil had their own stand there too! We visited the olive farm later in the week and I liked knowing that they supported the local market.

  5. aubynpa

    I absolutely loved this market, they had something to offer for everyone! The small amount of packaging was great, the quantities were smaller portions as well which is nice for smaller families. Some of the produce was cut into smaller pieces, such as squash, so that you could buy less of the peoduce and not waste it. They handed out reusable shopping bags at the entrance which incourages shoppers to reuse instead of getting plastic bags. I think everyone found something tasty to try there as well!

  6. ‘Twas pretty radical to be able to visit this Farmers Market and then be able to compare it to something similar we might see back home. In my home town, Flint, we’ve got a farmers market near the center of town that is housed in a fairly large historical industrial building. The same sorts of local fruits, vegetables, breads, and goods can be found at the right time in Flint, but there was a marked difference in the diversity of selection in Mildura. For one thing, you wont find world renowned Olive products sourced locally in Flint, and that stuff was delightful! I also noticed a greater variety of full on meals available for purchase, cooked for you on site. This brings forth an interesting contrast between a standard US Farmers market and Mildura’s.

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