Wednesday farmers market halves in size

The Otago Farmers Market Trust has made the decision to scale back its South Dunedin market after it failed to attract as many customers as expected following its opening last year, trust general manager John More says.

When the market reopens next Wednesday after taking a break since the week before Christmas, there will be fewer than half the number of vendors at the site on Macandrew Rd, Mr More said.

"There were about 34 vendors when the market started in November and now there are about 14 to 15 vendors," he said.

It would also be consolidating on to one site to save costs. The market site will change from the car park initially used near St Patrick's Basilica to the Church of Samoa.

Mr More said many vendors left in the weeks following the market's opening because they were not doing as much business they had expected.

"A lot of those vendors overestimated the amount of people that would come to the market, and to be fair, I probably did as well."

Some vendors from around Otago also struggled to get to two markets in Dunedin a week and so withdrew from the Wednesday event.

He did not think there was any bitterness from the vendors over the decision to open the second market and the trust never "made any promises" about how successful it would be.

While in hindsight it might have been a mistake to start with quite so many vendors, the trust had "done well to recognise the situation quickly and act on it", he said.

Mr More was still confident the scaled-back market would be a success as there was still a good range of products on offer.

"We had a really strong market on the Wednesday before Christmas ... and I think that's proven the viability of it."

It took the Saturday market a while to build up its popularity and it was possible the South Dunedin market would grow back to the size it was when it opened.

"What we are crying out for is ... a few more people to come through."

Stan Randle, who grows fruit near Alexandra, said he left the market because it proved too difficult to make it to two markets in Dunedin in one week.

"It took me about 17 hours for the day [to make it to the market] and I just couldn't keep it up."

In the weeks he was at the market he did not "break even", but he thought the market would pick up more customers over time.

"I'm sure it will be successful, it just takes time," Mr Randle said.



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