Avo go: 50 per cent of stallholder’s produce ripped off
RIPPING off local growers at a farmgate stall by more than half their profits is 'a new low' says local grower Christy Shelper.
The Big Swing Organics Farm co owner was forced to shut her road-side avocado stall at Goonengerry after her and husband DJ discovered the level of immense dishonesty at the honesty box.
"The honesty on our farmgate stall leaves a lot to be desired, about 50 per cent in fact," she said.
"The dishonesty always exists, but we've always has about an 85 percent rate of honesty which was good and manageable for us, but over the last three weeks it was consistently low we had to shut it."
While Christy said she understood the high cost of living in the area, the couple had their own bills to pay and a family to feed as well.
"It would be a different amount loss every day," she said.
"It was unpredictable, some days we'd lose $60 a day, sometimes more sometimes less, but it all adds up.
"We really want to have that stall down there - we want to make organic food available and affordable to the community, but we we can't afford to be giving away food, not at that consistency."
Left feeling "helpless" in the situation, Christy said they felt conflicted because they loved providing the community with affordable organics but they were also letting so many customers down shutting the stall.
"But at the same time you cant be feeding the people who are just taking advantage, so we feel really conflicted about it," she said.
"I'm surprised we didn't received more IOU notes in our box, but I've spoken with other stall holders in this area and they point out how you know if it's tourists or locals.
"You don't know."
The couple once had a camera on the stall, but it proved to be pointless when trying to monitor avo sales.
"But we caught a little old lady taking a $9 pumpkin without paying - so it's people from all walks of life doing it, there's no way to tell unless we are doing to sit there and spy all day long - obviously no one has the time to do that.
"Three weeks ago you could buy a really small overripe organic avo for $4 at Woolies and we were selling similar sized ones between 50c and $1 - and customers were getting awesome prices and quality straight from the farmer to you.
"We'll think about starting it up again next season.
"If anyone wants to keep eating our delicious avos, send us a message we'd be happy to sell you some of these certified organic beauties that have just been picked and polished for $9kg.
"Also, keep watching our Facebook page to see when and where we might do our next cheeky pop up stall."