Great produce is growing in favour

Lee-Anne Mundy says Tasmanians are beginning to realise the value of their produce.

Lee-Anne Mundy says Tasmanians are beginning to realise the value of their produce.

Lee-Anne Mundy says Tasmanians are taking back their produce, one market at a time. ALEX DRUCE reports.

FOR all the goodness of Tasmanian produce, Lee-Anne Mundy says we sure are happy to give it away.

"We're happy to sell our stuff to other states and countries - vegetables, fruit, dairy, seafood - but it means we're also taking a lot for granted," she said.

"I think people have lost contact with things like being able to identify good produce, how to cook properly, being able to budget and prepare and source food, check what is in season.

"There is an ease of access to things that are quick and easy, but things that are not necessarily good for you."

The Burnie-based dietitian said reclaiming local produce was a key factor in establishing the Cradle Coast Farmers Market 12 months ago.

The weekly market, held at the Wharf at Ulverstone, is attended by a pool of 30 stallholders, and operates similarly to the Harvest Market in Launceston.

Ms Mundy said the first year of the Cradle Coast market had been hard, especially through winter, but a growing awareness and enthusiasm for farmgate produce had helped sustain at least 10 stallholders each week.

And, bit by bit, Ms Mundy said can see our relationship with food changing.

"There are a lot of Tasmanians out there who are realising what we have in our own backyard is incredibly valuable," she said. "I know that is a common theme for our stallholders (at Ulverstone).

"That's how it started - a lot of people on the North-West were travelling to Launceston every Saturday for Harvest Market, and then we realised there were enough of us to make our own."

Ms Mundy said she was lucky to have grown up with fresh food in the Huon Valley. "We didn't really have supermarkets when I was little - that was the norm," she said.

"In Europe, each country has a range of supermarkets and places to buy your food - half a dozen easily - as well as a range of local providores. In Australia we have a duopoly of two, which is very unusual."

In 2012-13 Ms Mundy spent 13 months studying the relationship between farmers and consumers at the birthplace of the slow food movement - the Italian village of Bra.

She formed the Cradle Coast Farmers Market upon her return, and has since been a strong advocate for North-West produce.

Ms Mundy will also feature in the Tasmanian edition of the Field Institute Locavore series, a guide that will share the stories behind the state's best producers, providers and growers and reconnect people to the food they eat.

"Not a week goes by where there's not something on television or in the papers that celebrates our producers and farmers," Ms Mundy said. "People are more interested in where things come from now, what is done to the food before it is sold, how they can get the best out of it. It's really encouraging to see."

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