May 19 Maitland Produce Market was a huge success

Shoppers flocked to central Maitland on Thursday to satisfy their fresh food fix.

Ten producers offered everything from bread, sweet and savoury pastries, eggs, flowers and herbs to a wide range of seasonal and late summer vegetables, honey and free range chickens, beef and pork.

The stalls now stand along most of The Levee precinct. 

“We bring such a wide range of produce to Maitland, and it’s all fresh and seasonal produce,” Slow Food Hunter Valley leader Amorelle Dempster said.

“Small producers now have a regular outlet to sell their produce direct to shoppers and they now rely on the market to help them earn a living.”

Ms Dempster was busy behind the stove cooking pumpkin curry, which was sold with rice and a kale salad, from 4pm. 

She said the community adored the market and people approached the producers as soon as they arrived.

“Everybody in Maitland now knows that there is a market and they want to come and support the farmers; they love the whole idea of it,” Ms Dempster said.

“They are buying enough to last them two weeks until the next market, and they’ve been saying the food lasts and still tastes so fresh because it was picked just before the market.”

Ms Dempster said shoppers were starting to learn what foods were available during each season.

“The market is teaching people what food is in season, or is late in the season, so for example, sweet corn might not be as sweet now because it’s late in the season,” she said. 

The market began on a fortnightly schedule in April.

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