Rowena Tyson: “Through supporting local producers, we’ve really got to know the community.”
Rowena is passionate about veggies and local, good food, which begins with being able to buy fresh produce, foodstuffs and complementary items sourced from local producers. Taking that aspiration a step further was putting together a monthly market where shoppers can meet the people behind the goods.
Fortunately, Rowena’s dream was shared by Sue Butowsky from Zannas, nominated as one of our White River Stars a few month ago. Together, the girls rolled up their sleeves and turned ideals into reality. Bagdad Farmers Market launched on the 13th June 2015 and is growing like the proverbial weed, at a staggering rate.
After its wildly successful launch, Rowena and Sue were under siege from stallholders wanting to sell products of all shapes and sizes. Holding firm to the strict boundaries they put in place, the duo insist that the market is a showcase for local, handmade, home grown, wholesome foods, crafts and products. They vet applications seriously at their weekly meetings and if the criteria and the visual appeal aren’t met, that’s a request resolutely turned down.
Make no mistake, it’s a ton of additional work on the shoulders of two very busy women who only find time in the evening to get together and discuss the applications, allocate stands, organise tables, cloths and umbrellas and then spent Friday night before the market climbing on ladders installing shade cloth and setting it all up.
Rowena mans her stand at each market with enthusiasm while keeping an eye on daughter Phebe, who runs her own little cordial stand. It’s an excellent marketing ploy, as adorable Phebe winkles Rands out of pockets and The Fountains Herb Farm sells out of cordial!
Her drive to give White River access to wholefoods and create an event where the community comes out to play and support local producers gives Rowena a well earnt White River Star. And maybe an added baby star for teaching entrepreneurial skills to a darling little girl.