GREAT FEEDBACK: Tony Perret of French by Nature deli stall.
GREAT FEEDBACK: Tony Perret of French by Nature deli stall. Warren Lynam

Big Top markets offering a fresh change to shoppers

SHOPPERS have jumped at the opportunity to buy fresh food direct from farmers and producers in the middle of Maroochydore.

Some stallholders in the Big Top Market Fresh shopping centre have sold out since the revamped shopping centre reopened on Saturday incorporating "wet" and "dry" markets.

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The "sold out" sign went back up yesterday at Donut Boyz, which sold thousands of donuts on the weekend.

But the more traditional market fare of fresh fruit and vegies was also popular.

John Packer, of Veg Alive, said he sold out of nearly everything on Saturday.

"I think I only went home with two pineapples and two bags of sweet potatoes," he said.

Although there are still some vacant stalls, more than 100 will eventually operate on Wednesdays, Friday nights and Saturdays.

As the rain fell yesterday, stallholders were grateful to be under the Big Top's new shade sails.

Tony Perret, who runs the French by Nature deli stall with his wife Krishna, expects the markets to grow.

"Saturday was the first one. We had a really good response," he said.

"It was great getting the feedback from customers. Everyone has been waiting for the Big Top to open."

Gary Greinke, of Wamuran Berries, said trade had been "very good" on Saturday and he expected it to increase. "This is a fantastic concept. I hope people realise how good it is," he said.

Craig Hubbard, of Shambhala Farm, at Doonan, admitted he had been "nervous" about the concept of a market in a shopping centre.

"Now that I've seen it, I'm really excited to be in it. I think the benefits of an indoor market are quite profound."

Noosa Reds tomato grower Peter Seghers said farmers were delighted that business believed in them and were returning the gesture.

"Believe me, every farmer that's here has put in extra to make it work," he said.

Ray Morrison, of Eumundi Smokehouse, said the atmosphere reminded him of Sydney and Melbourne markets.



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