Haines hangs up hat after 20 years

By Charlotte Wooldridge | posted on July 23, 2020

ALBANY Farmers Market is saying goodbye to one of its integral members as Market Coordinator Ian Haines retires his Akubra after almost two decades on the job.

Mr Haines has been involved in the local market since its inception, after spending his life chasing his passion for food.

“I’ve been in Albany for a long time and I’ve been in the food business a long time,” he said.

“I’ve owned restaurants and things like that, so going to work for the markets was actually a natural progression for me because I’m pretty passionate about food, but I’m also passionate about farmers and eating local food.”

Over the past 18 years, Mr Haines has seen the markets grow and flourish, giving the opportunity for local producers to meet and interact with their customers directly.

“The market came along and started in a fairly small way, but it has taken on board quite a lot of the local farmers who work damn hard and have great integrity about what they do,” he said.

“Farmers used to and often still do put love, effort and hard work into whatever it is that they’re growing and load it onto a truck, wave it goodbye and send it off to Perth or wherever. They then have no control over where it goes and sometimes its maybe not treated as well as it should.

“The market bypasses all that. They can fix a fair price, and if they can produce a good quality product, they’ll get the support of the locals and the sales.”

Mr Haines said being able to see the result and growth of years of hard work from local farmers and the following support from local community has been a career highlight.

“Farming is damn hard, but the local people have been fantastic supporters of the market and it does have a good following,” he said.

“The Albany Markets were decided right at the beginning to be a local fresh food market with things only from the Great Southern, so it does have a reputation for quality local fresh produce.

“If you come to market, and buy an apple or cauliflower, it’s almost dead certain that the person who sells it to you is the person who grew it just up the road.”

Despite stepping down from the role, Mr Haines said he’ll still be doing his weekly shop at the markets.

“People I’ve watched over the years have really built relationships with the people who grow their food and that’s really good. You don’t get that in a big multinational shop,” he said.