“We couldn’t even think about the market stopping,” says Katrina, who’s notched up 10 years as market manager, along with running the Margaret River Night Market, the latter of which is on hold until further notice.
“People need food. It’s one thing for (larger scale commercial) industry to stop, but we need some things in the local economy to keep going, and nourish our community.”
And continue to nourish it does. Though scaled down from the market our regional visitors normally flock to in droves (the 60-some stalls of pre-corona times has whittled to around 25 each week), the essentials remain. There is fruit and veg. Fresh pasta. Local meat. Freshly grown herbs. Pomegranates. Woodfired sourdough. Cakes. Italian sweets. Katrina and the vendors have established hand sanitation points, all payment is now contactless (maybe one of the biggest changes), and now the market website allows for online ordering and box pick up each Friday afternoon before the Saturday morning market, for those in the community who are vulnerable or simply uncertain about heading out.
“The producers need to keep producing,” says Kat, explaining in part the motivation behind her flexibility in response and her creative and industrious management. “There are farmers with food that is in the ground, and meat that has been growing and animals that have to be slaughtered at certain ages. It’s about supporting everybody to have access to the local food system.”