Fresh force in markets

The Manjimup-based 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 farmed in the Pemberton district since 1926 and have been involved with all manner of fresh produce; from dairy cows to apples, grapes, cauliflower and now lucrative crops such as avocado, blueberries and raspberries.

The family winery is also thriving in the Pemberton weather, off the back of a 20 tonne harvest.

The family remain deeply ingrained in 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,” he said

Mr Omodei said he jumped at the chance to head up the new market, the $135 million State Government asset sold off to recoup an out of control 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… Now our job is to get out to growers so they know there will always be a market.”

He said he wanted to see the markets utilised by the wider community on weekend market days

“Although the food industry is growing I don’t think we have done enough to promote fresh food.The produce the markets have is fresh, safe food and I want to help get the message out there.”