Coronavirus fears don’t stop Yamba Farmers Market
CALVIN Peuser's vegetable stand at the Yamba Farmers and Growers Market had an extra item on display yesterday morning.
Nestled in his chemical free organise sweet potato and carrots was a bottle of hand sanitiser, and it wasn't alone among the 33 other stalls.
"This is our income, this is our life really," he said.
"We only do two markets, here and Grafton, and it's been pretty good this morning, maybe even a little bit better.
"People are probably done with the supermarkets, and it might even take a few blinkers off a few people."
Market organiser Debrah Novak said she wasn't sure how the markets, one of the few regular events to have survived the COVID-19 restrictions, would do.
"We didn't know how it was going to turn out, whether people would be scared to come out," she said.
"But I've seen people here with surgical gloves, some are doing the social distancing … and they've got that awareness."
Hand sanitiser was placed at every entrance to the markets near Whiting Beach, with many stallholders following suit.
Disinfectant, wipes, gloves and mosquito spray was also provided on all their tables to allay any fears the community may have had.
"It's about making people feel safe, and from a mental point of view, people can see we're across it and thinking about it," Ms Novak said.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Ms Novak said many people didn't realise the level of hygiene that each stallholder needed to provide to be at the markets.
"All our stallholders who have prepared foods … they all have to have their kitchen registered, they have to do a safe handling food course, and a supervisors food handling cause just to be here," she said.
"Now on top of that, we're asking our stallholders to ramp it up."
Ms Novak said she had even provided a concierge service from one person who was self-isolating, delivering the food to their doorstep.
With all the food at the market grown in a 150km radius, Ms Novak said there was not going to be a shortage of food, especially in the Clarence Valley.
"We are the major food bowl of the area," she said. "We are going to be here next because that food is still growing."