Harris Farm Markets recently announced that their first store for the Gold Coast will be on the Isle of Capri at Via Roma.
In a ‘coming back to their roots’ move, the famed family-owned local produce and grocery market reopened their first store in Queensland in Clayfield in November 2020 and their flagship store in West Village, West End, in May 2021. When the Isle of Capri store opens later this year, more than 300 locals will be employed, and the stores will showcase produce from over 320 Queensland growers.
We asked Tristan Harris, co-CEO of Harris Farm Markets, one of the three sons of founders David and Cathy Harris, what we can expect when Harris Farm Markets opens on the Gold Coast.
What brought Harris Farm Markets back to Queensland?
Coming back to Queensland has been on our radar for a long time. We have a bit of a history here. We actually used to have a few shops in the state 30 years back. Now one of them is a Harris Farm again! We sold Clayfield Markets to Carlo & Susan and when the opportunity to buy it back came up it was the perfect fit for our re-launch into the state last year. It’s a full-circle story and we were thrilled to see the Clayfield Markets team able to become members of our team. Queensland has such an abundant array of fruit and veg, growers and other artisan producers we have been working with for many years it just made sense for us to be able to set some roots up here and shine a spotlight on the fantastic things and good food that Queensland has.
Local specialist producers encounter difficulty placing their niche products in large supermarkets chains. How will Harris Farm Markets address this issue?
At Harris Farm we welcome as many local growers and providers to get in touch as possible. We have many positive relationships with local boutique suppliers that we are proud of. We are a nimble business, and we are still far smaller in terms of number of stores than the large supermarket chains, so this offers us a more manageable supply network for specialist producers. We also have the flexibility to range for a lower volume of locally relevant stores to the supplier if they struggle to meet the volume demands. We do have stringent sourcing standards to ensure the best quality food is on our shelves, so we work with and where required. We educate local suppliers to ensure their processes can meet these standards, as local producers are incredibly important to what we stand for and what we want to provide our customers. Putting in time with them to have them on shelves is incredibly important to us.
What measures will Harris Farm Markets take to reduce food wastage?
Being about the greater good and doing good things for the earth is really important to us and how we operate. We have minimal impact waste management practices in place to ensure that waste produced by our stores is recycled or reused where possible. We pride ourselves on also ranging a pretty special range of fruit and vegies called Imperfect Picks- a seasonal selection of fruit and veg that might not look perfect from the outside but are as perfect as ever on the inside. They help to reduce the 25% proportion of farmers crops that currently never leave the farm gate simply because they are a bit ugly and do not meet the visual specifications of some consumers and supermarkets (Horticulture Australia). Every time a customer buys an Imperfect Pick, they help us take more of the farmer’s crops, help reduce food wastage, and most importantly they save money as we sell them at up to 50% off and always by the kilo. That’s right! If seasonally available, we often have mangoes and avos sold by the kilo at a price you’d expect to see for one or two. We’re also working on a really exciting food waste reduction project – but can’t say too much about it yet!
Farm markets differ slightly in their format, eg some have plants for sale. What special inclusions will the Isle of Capri store include? (What can we look forward to?)
That is so true. We are not cookie cutter in our approach. We work very hard to ensure that when we establish a store it is highly considered to suit the needs of the local community it sits in as best we can with the space we have available. Apart from an extensive range of fruit, veg and boutique groceries, our Isle of Capri store will have a locally run bakery operating from a mezzanine where we plan to have the bread lowered to the ground floor by a mechanical ‘Bread-Fall’ – our first one in Queensland, a juice bar offering freshly squeezed juices, a living herb wall scaling into the air, a ‘Wholesome Harvest’ bulk foods section with an array of pour your own options such as honey and olive oil, as well as an extensive selection of meat and deli cuts.
Our infamous ‘Milk on Tap’ will be the hero of our dairy section where customers will be able to pour milk from a local dairy farm straight into glass milk bottles like the good old days. Oh, and we love our ‘Cheese at Harris Farm’, where you can expect an impressive selection of hundreds of specialty cheeses and antipasto lines to suit any entertaining occasion. You never quite know what other surprises might sneak their way in before we open. We still have a few more months to go but we can’t wait to show you when we do.
Why should we shop at Harris Farm Markets? What is your major point of difference to your competitors?
At Harris Farm we pride ourselves on offering a true market shopping experience every day of the week. We like to put the joy back into the grocery shop and create a space for our customers where they can throw away their shopping list and be immersed in abundant food displays where every corner they turn there will be a new discovery. We pride ourselves on being champions of offering value with values behind it and freshness from truly seasonal product, delivering goodness with the firm belief that Australian families should have access to the freshest and best available fruit and veg. It will be a flavour-filled showcase of Queensland and Australian fruit, veg and groceries under one roof, and we can’t wait to open later this year and offer this experience to the Gold Coast at the Isle of Capri. Queensland is famed for the richness and range of products grown across the state, and we’ve been working with so many wonderful producers to ensure a great array of seasonally best fruit, veg and fantastic local boutique products will be available. The Isle of Capri store will offer food from more than 300 Queensland growers, creators and producers, including organic milk from Barambah, Longreach Organic Lamb, Brisbane’s Roza’s Gourmet sauces, and organic chicken from Hobbs Family Farms Organic in Pittsworth, Queensland.
Harris Farms Markets is expected to open in Capri on Via Roma, Isle of Capri in late 2021. Photos supplied.