Wednesday, 18 September 2013

It's official - no one does markets better than the Sunshine Coast
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast region has been voted by Trip Advisor reviewers as the premier Australian region for markets, with the Noosa Farmers Market voted number one and Eumundi Market voted number four.
The Noosa Farmers Market has been running for 11 years every Sunday morning from 0700 – 1200. Over 100 stalls showcase the best of local produce and artisan products including a wide range of organics, freshly squeezed lime drinks, marinades and sauces, aromatic skin care products, nuts and seeds, olives and tasty tapenades, herbs and just-caught seafood, freshly baked bread and creamy cheeses.
The Noosa Farmer Markets offer live entertainment each Sunday and special events are held throughout the year.
I personally know the fourth-placed Eumundi Markets far better, as do millions of Australians and international visitors who’ve breathed in the exotic (and some not so exotic) scents during its 34 years in operation.
It started in 1979, when ceramic artist Christa Barton and her friend Gail Perry-Somers came up with the idea of holding a European style “artisans and farmers” market in the sleepy village of Eumundi. The area had become a haven for artists and “alternatives” who had escaped suburbia for a more community-focused, simpler way of life.
Eumundi Markets in the 1980s, budgie smugglers, dreadlocks and all
The first ‘market’ outside the Christian Woman’s Association (CWA) Hall attracted a grand total of three stalls and eight customers with a turnover of $30. But within a year it was a major success, with the Market’s focus on handmade products, and the ethos of “make it, bake it, grow it, sew it” setting it apart from rivals. By 1985, The Eumundi Markets had 97 stalls and 143,000 people for the year, and by 1990, it had grown to 203 stalls, with some 260,000 visitors for the year. Today, the Eumundi Markets is the biggest art and craft market in Australia, with 550 stalls, attracting over 1.6 million visitors annually.
The market has evolved but the philosophy of localism and hand-made remains strong, as is the aim to create a genuinely sustainable shopping experience by introducing green credentials such as creating – with Eumundi’s local school – a worm farm to process all compostable waste generated by the market and for the school to resell the organic fluids and castings to raise much-needed funds. The market is now plastic bag free and all packaging materials used are fully compostable. In the future, Eumundi markets plans to install solar power generation and water harvesting to become energy self-sufficient, with the long-term aim of exporting any surplus energy within the community.
Other popular Sunshine Coast markets include: the Peregian Beach Market, Cotton Tree Market and Markets on Bulcock in Caloundra which is always vibrant and buzzing with live music and entertainment.
More information about Sunshine Coast and its markets:
For the record, the top 10 markets in Australia according to Trip Advisor are: 1. Noosa Farmers Market – Sunshine Coast 2. Adelaide Centre Market – Adelaide 3. South Melbourne Market – Melbourne 4. Eumundi Market – Sunshine Coast 5. Prahran Market – Melbourne 6. Salamanca Market – Hobart 7. Sunday Market Port Douglas – Port Douglas 8. Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne 9. Parap Market – Darwin 10. Sydney Fish Market - Sydney

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