Launceston residents who buy their fresh produce at Harvest market can do so with the knowledge the fruit and vegetables are fruit fly free.
Harvest Launceston managers had met with Biosecurity Tasmania officers just before Tasmania’s fruit fly incursion in January, so they were already armed with the information needed to ensure stallholders were meeting packing and selling requirements, committee president Simon McInerney said.
“It was a general get together to learn all about the biosecurity procedures and general aspects, particularly for things like blueberry rust that have come about in recent times,” Mr McInerney said.
“We were slightly ahead of the game in that we had information to hand even before the fruit fly outbreak, so we responded to it very quickly,” he said.
Harvest managers run a closed Facebook group for stallholders and have been using this medium to distribute information about fruit fly host produce and associated restrictions.
“We’ve got two board members who are involved in the [Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment] department as well, so that’s enabled us to get information straight away,” Mr McInerney said.
No Harvest stallholders grow fruit fly host produce within the Spreyton control zone, just root vegetables, which are not affected.
Harvest Launceston is a member of Australian Farmers’ Markets Association, and its rules state “all produce must be sold by the farmer/producer, family member, or employee directly involved with the growing, rearing, catching or manufacturing of the product” and “reselling of produce is not permitted”.
“We’ve got the advantage that we don’t have any onselling or wholesale distribution, so we know the exact provenance of all our fresh produce,” Mr McInerney said.
“We were able to contact any stallholders immediately. We know exactly what’s going on and who can and can’t come to the market.”