Dungog Local Growers Stall to go ahead - at this stage

Produce: A file photograph of the markets in the CWA courtyard in Dowling Street.
Produce: A file photograph of the markets in the CWA courtyard in Dowling Street.

The recent welcome rain has boosted local produce for farmers and gardeners - which would usually be a boon for the Local Growers Stall held in Dungog each Saturday.

The COVID-19 pandemic means new announcements are being made daily on ways to combat the spread of coronavirus.

On Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced public gatherings are restricted to two people. All people aged 70 and over should stay at home and self-isolate for their own protection.

At press time on Monday, organisers said the local growers stall in the CWA courtyard in Dowling Street would go ahead this Saturday morning but with some big changes.

"We have very strict controls in place and will not start selling until 9am," said Pauline Cambourne from Local Living Dungog.

"We have changed the layout and only one person can be served at a time and have controls on keeping the numbers down."

Fresh produce markets are deemed an essential service under the federal government's COVID-19 regulations as long as social distancing is maintained.

Ms Cambourne said there was a lot of fresh local produce still being grown but appealed to people to be vigilant about social distancing and not leaving their home unless absolutely necessary.

"Perhaps one person could shop for several others so there are less people attending the stall," she said.

To check if the market is still going ahead on Saturday, you can call Ms Cambourne on 0429 629 014.

Organisers of the Slow Food Earth Market at Maitland have decided not to hold the April 2 market after farmers and volunteers expressed concerns about the risk of contracting coronavirus.

"We have to protect our farmers and our volunteers - the farmers are saying if they get it how are they going to grow their food and do their farm work," Slow Food Hunter Valley chairwoman Amorelle Dempster said.

"It's a valid concern. We don't want to turn shoppers away and we know there are people who rely on the market to buy fresh food from our farmers and producers, so we are looking at how we can still deliver that."

They are planning to offer a produce box shoppers can pre-order and pick up.