Markets celebrate birthday

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

Toasting to 21 years of Market City, growers, retailers and wholesalers from the old and new markets celebrated in Canning Vale last week.

The history of the Perth Markets goes back to the early part of last century, initially at Roe Street Perth and later at its current location in Canning Vale.

With a rich history of family businesses, the old market — originally designed for use with horse and cart — has come a long way to the modern facility it is today.

But although Market City is now a corporate structure, a strong sense of family still exists today.

Bob Mercer said he remembered with aches and pains the labour-intensive markets of his 46 years at West Perth.

“We didn’t have forklifts and machines like they do today, ” he said.

Cedric Smith of Smith Enterprises was 10 years old when he started in the family business.

“My father used to grow peas and beans, which he paid me to pick, and we would sell them in the markets for sixpence a pound, ” Mr Smith said.

“The process has been amazing, as far as better produce for consumers and better efficiency.”

It was a big transition for the industry when the markets moved to Canning Vale in 1989.

Agriculture Minister Terry Redman said since then, Market City had assumed a critical role in the marketing and distribution of fresh produce in WA. “More than $350 million worth of fruit and vegetables are traded through these markets every year, ” he said.

Mr Redman said the millions being spent on expansion of the Ord and Carnarvon irrigation networks would add to Market City’s potential in the future.

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