The SAGE e-market has re-opened and despite the current ‘slim pickings’ at the market, we decided to re-open the e-market now in expectation of a busy and back to normal December and January, and to test the interest and viability of continuing the e-market next year.
Opening in November allows us time to promote the market, re-introduce and recruit volunteers for packing, set up and delivery, re-acquaint the producers with how to upload their produce, and iron out any glitches in the online systems and processes.
Our growers are hopeful that the worst of the wet weather has passed, growing conditions have improved, and you’ll see more and more produce come back to the market and e-market over coming weeks.
SAGE established the e-market to make fresh local food available to more people, provide an additional distribution for growers, and alleviate some of the queuing issues at the Tuesday market. Through COVID, e-market orders tripled, and we were pleased to be able to provide this service to our community during these challenging times. This also highlighted the need for an e-market.
By 2021 we had outgrown the original website and SAGE moved the online market to a web platform called Shopify, to streamline the online process for volunteers, albeit it with a higher cost.
Then in 2022, the rain came, and many local producers have had a shocker of a year. The number of stalls at the Tuesday Farmers Market dropped, and only a few were currently producing enough to sell through the e-market, so we suspended it through winter.
The online processing side of the Shopify e-market is managed by the market manager, and volunteers look after the stall set up, packing and deliveries. On any Tuesday, there are 5 to 8 volunteers working on the e-market.
In the past, the costs of running the e-market have not always been covered by income generated from a small percentage of sales and delivery fees.
Over the next few months, the SAGE executive committee and farmers market committee will be assessing the financial sustainability of the e-market and deciding if we continue to run it.
The SAGE NSW Inc Farmers Market e-market is back up and running, offering Eurobodalla residents the chance to skip the queues and pre-order local produce online direct from the grower.
Complementing the Moruya Farmers Market at Riverside Park from 3pm each Tuesday, the e-market enables customers to “beat the bell” by shopping online for fresh, local produce over the weekend.