SAGE Farmers Market has become an important contributor to the vibrant mix of retail outlets that Moruya is known for. A recent economic impact study shows the market saw a 28% jump in sales in five years, and delivered a combined economic benefit to vendors, nearby businesses, and the local community of more than $4 million in 2019-20.
Economic data on authentic farmers markets in Australia is very sparse, which is why the first study was done in 2015 and then followed five years later by the current study.
Stuart Whitelaw, a member of the SAGE Farmers Market committee, said they were so surprised at the findings from the first four surveys done this time, that they did a fifth to check the numbers were consistent!
“We were blown away by the numbers and the fact that the market has grown at nearly double the rate of the Eurobodalla economy”.
“The market has grown in gross income. We believe that the increased spend per customer tells us that our regular shoppers have become more familiar with how to shop at a farmers market and cooking with local seasonal produce”, Stuart said. “More people are doing more of their weekly shop at the market”.
Local businesses were included in the survey and 44% said they had an average 36% increase in trade on Tuesday afternoons from market goers.
The median age of shoppers at the market was 56 years old, very close to the Eurobodalla median of 54. This indicates that the market attracts shoppers across a wide age spectrum.
As expected, market shoppers were most likely to come from Moruya but around 16% come from Batemans Bay and surrounds, and 5% from Narooma and surrounds.
It was the surf that first attracted Tim Saffery to the far South Coast of NSW, but it was ‘the River’ restaurant that lured him to Moruya from Melbourne, where he had been ‘young chef of the year’ in 2003.