The Victorian Country Market is bringing an online market direct to homes across the state, hosting a range of local producers.
Bimbimbi Organic Berries owner Nina Meiers said she jumped on board because it was the first time she had seen something of this kind around country Victoria.
“It can help a lot of small farmers sell our products to a wider market; I've got a reach that I would not normally have, such as someone in Fitzroy buying my product,” Ms Meiers said.
She said for many farmers, getting produce to the consumer could be difficult, as some markets were only held once a month.
“Weekly farmers markets don’t exist and people like myself who have seasonal, perishable fruit need weekly outlets to sell our produce to, because it won’t hold,” she said.
Yarrawonga Apiaries owner Lauren Parpelle said the virtual market would be a good way to help farmers after recent bushfires and the coronavirus.
“It’s a good idea for a lot of farmers who haven’t gone that far into websites, and it’ll be good for them to get some exposure at this difficult time,” Ms Parpelle said.
Yarrawonga Apiaries is family run by second generation beekeepers, selling to local markets and stores.
Mitchelton Wines also joined the Victorian Country Market in the absence of cellar door visitors and regional events and festivals.
Mitchelton marketing manager Natalie Powell said the market would allow the business to continue to reach an audience during these challenging times.
“We do hope it provides an easy option for consumers to explore and show their support for regional business, but time will tell,” Ms Powell said.
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said the site aimed to support Victoria's world-class producers.
“This will never replace the atmosphere and benefits of the real thing, but it’s a great example of how our regional businesses are looking to alternative ways of operation during this time,” Ms Symes said.