Fleurieu Peninsula

Willunga Farmers Markets celebrate 20 years with jam-packed foodie day

South Australia’s first farmers market, the Willunga Farmers Markets are turning 20 this February. Celebrate with local, fresh produce and chef recipes.

Willunga Farmers Market is turning 20!

To celebrate the milestone, the beloved markets are hosting an awesome foodie celebration. 

On Saturday, February 19th, from 8 am to noon the markets will welcome three of South Australia’s favourite chefs to share their favourite recipes using fresh market produce. 

Chefs Todd Steele, Karena Armstrong (Salopian Inn & Director of Tasting Australia 2022) & Jordan Theodoros (formerly Sticky Rice Cooking School & Peel St Restaurant) will showcase the regions fresh produce in delicious meals we can all make at home.  

They’ll each make a dish using seasonal fresh produce. Just like a regular marketgoer they’ll wander around each stall and choose whatever produce looks best that day. 

The chefs will then whip up their goodies in front of a live crowd.

Willunga Farmers Markets will also share the recipes to their socials and website for anyone who can’t make it to the Gala event.

The commemoration will take place at Willunga High School, the temporary new home of the market, due to the pandemic.

After 20 years over 1000 weekly Markets have been held all full of fresh local produce and wonderful community connections.

Willunga Farmers Market General Manager, Jenni Mitton says the markets have gathered people every Saturday for 20 years. 

“Rain, hail or shine we are there every Saturday,” said Jenni.

“We have been operating since 2002, the connection between the farmer and customers is really special and it’s great to have people connecting over food. 

“It’s a wonderful community atmosphere and many children and families have grown up in the market, we have a great community spirit.”

Willunga Farmers Market was set up to provide a venue for small producers to sell their finest and freshest first-quality food the region has to offer, direct to customers. It was a giant leap of faith by producers and customers alike and it is now a celebrated success story of grassroots, sustainable and economic development. 

“We have grown from just 18 stalls to over 80,” said Jenni.

“Willunga Farmers Market is now home to more than 80 Farmers & Producers all from the Fleurieu Peninsula.”  

“We have won a few awards also, we were the winner of the delicious Produce Award for the nations Most Outstanding Farmers Market in 2021 and inducted into the SA Tourism Hall of Fame for Excellence in Food Tourism in 2021.”

From humble beginnings to great success, the Willunga Farmers Market was the first of its kind in South Australia. 

“Willunga Farmers Market was the first farmers market in South Australia,” said Jenni. 

“Being the first in SA the community really lends itself to where we are situated between the hills and the sea so we have a great growing region for year-round seasonal produce, plus we have a great community and lots of visitors.”

“Since we started in 2002, the other markets, including Barossa, Adelaide, Victor Harbour, Mount Pleasant and the Adelaide Hills have all become popular as well.”

“There are really only six true farmers markets in South Australia.

“A true Farmers market only sells food, hence the reason all of those markets have been able to stay open during the entirety of the pandemic, other markets that sell items alongside food had to close at some point or another and we, fortunately, didn’t experience that.”

The Willunga Farmers Markets consist of 80 stalls, 70% of which sell fresh local produce, whilst the other 30% is ‘value add’ produce which is products such as bread and baked goods. 

“Our market is so special because the products are sold by the person that made them, in Willunga all of our stallholders are from the Fleurieu region.”

Over 3000 marketgoers are expected to visit the Willunga Farmers Markets for its 20th birthday, however, given the outdoor location, Jenni assures guests that it is a covid-safe venue. 

“We are holding the market in a different location than usual, we have been holding it at the Willunga High School as there is plenty of room for people to have their own space. Also, people tend to come in waves so there is never a rush of people.”

Whether you are from the local region or a first-time visitor, Jenni invites people from all walks to experience the community atmosphere of the Willunga Farmers Markets.

The Willunga Farmers Markets are located at Willunga High School, High School, Main Rd, Willunga SA 5172

They are open every Saturday from 8am-noon

Visit their website for more. 

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