IN a first for regional Queensland, a farmers' market on the Sunshine Coast has committed to include only certified chemical-free produce.
Hinterland Harvest Market in Woombye has joined with the Chemical Free Farmers Association to promote locally grown produce from farms free of pesticides and herbicides.
While local farmers are celebrating the market's commitment to ensuring wholesale conventionally-farmed produce from outside of the Coast doesn't make it in, it's local families who are the real winners, says CFFA farm auditor Dave Jarrett.
"As you'd be aware there are organic outlets on the Sunshine Coast that are very, very expensive, and not affordable for everyday mums and dads," he said.
"Our mission is to offer certification for small farmers who can't normally afford the more expensive certifications that are offered for the purpose of making organically grown food accessible for everyone."
Market manager Helen Langlois said a single person on a budget could pick up a box of seasonal vegies and fruit for less than $50 at the market, and a family might spend $75.
Having chemical-free certification allowed stallholders to keep costs down, as the process was less involved than for organic certification schemes.
While other 'farmers markets' on the Sunshine Coast have come under fire for selling wholesale produce, Ms Langlois says her market - which began in September last year - excluded wholesale suppliers.
She said she was "trying to keep it as real as possible".
"It's either farmers selling produce themselves or cooperatives selling on their behalf."
Mr Jarrett said all of the market's stallholders are either certified as being chemical-free or are now being assessed.
The CFAA will will launch its own egg and bacon breakfast and information stall at the market this Saturday, and a winter weekend workshop series will soon introduce cooking demonstrations to help home cooks create meals with seasonal produce.
Where and when: Saturdays 6-11am at Kiel Mountain Rd, Woombye
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