A new force behind markets


Perth Markets Limited founding chairman Paul Omodei. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au   d450367
Perth Markets Limited founding chairman Paul Omodei. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d450367

The former politician’s connection to WA produce began in Manjimup as a 10-year-old when he planted and pulled potatoes.

“I used to help my dad out in the flat,” he said.

The Omodei family has farmed in the Pemberton district since 1926 and been involved in all manner of farming, from breeding dairy cows to growing apples, grapes, cauliflower and now lucrative crops such as avocadoes, blueberries and raspberries. The family’s small batch winery is also thriving in the Pemberton weather, off the back of a 20-tonne harvest.

The family remains deeply ingrained within the agriculture industry and it is expected the legacy will continue.

“The family have diversified over the years; we are now fourth generation and I’m a father of four and grandfather of 12,” Mr Omodei said.

He said he jumped at the chance to head up the new market, the $135 million State Government asset sold off to help in balancing the budget.

He said grower retention of the market was a coup.

“It is a big win for the grower,” he said. “All the other bidders were property developers and that didn’t sit right with me.

He said he wanted to see the markets used by the wider community on weekend market days and help farmers establish a way to continue providing fresh food to the masses.

“Although the food industry is growing, I don’t think we have done enough to promote fresh food,” he said.

“The produce the markets have is fresh, safe food and I want to help get the message out there.”