Ironman athlete and sports scientist Luke Miles knows how important good nutrition is. After 12 years in the wholesale fruit and veg game he also knows how to buy local and eat fresh. He’s now blending these skills to open the Precinct Fresh Market later this month, a local farmers’ market that will be open seven days a week. He’ll buy directly from local famers so customers and producers get the best value possible for their health and their wallets.
“There’s nothing better than fresh food – whether you’re training and competing or just going about life, you have more sustained energy when you eat real food” – Luke Miles
With grapes from Charters Towers; tomatoes from Majors Creek; pumpkin and watermelon from Crystal Creek; pineapples from Rollingstone; avocados, chia seeds, macadamia nuts, peanuts and potatoes from the Atherton Tablelands, and honey from Townsville (seriously, the list goes on); you’d be hard pressed to buy more fresh or local.
“We live in a region that produces a wide range of amazing fresh fruit and vegetables at different times of the year. For example, the tomatoes are grown 20km away, picked ripe and brought in that same day,” Luke tells, who plans to have a map behind the counter with a dot to show exactly where the produce originates.
“They haven’t been picked green and artificially ripened, and they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals like the imported goods are in supermarkets. Plus, when we buy directly from our local farmers, they get the best price for their produce as we’re cutting out the middlemen and transport cost up and down the cost. This also means we get the freshest and tastiest possible product at a fair price.”
Through buying wholesale, Luke says he’ll be able to compete with the big chain supermarkets on 90% of the produce. Plus – by being based at The Precinct at Fairfield Waters – customers will be able to complete their weekly shop with Three Loaves Bakehouse, the Precinct Fine Meats and Christo’s Deli.
Another key focus for Luke is a dedicated juice bar that will produce smoothies using only fresh and seasonal ingredients.
“By using ingredients that are in season there’s more flavour,” Luke explains, with the menu regularly changing to accommodate what’s just come off the vine or out of the ground. “We’ll also be selling Mount Elliot spring water, Snowy Mountains sparkling water and a special brand of coconut water – the idea is to get people away from those sugary drinks that have little nutritional value. Nothing beats a can of coconut water for rehydration after a long training session in the Townsville heat.”
Nutrition has played a huge part in Luke’s training in the past, with the 28-year-old completing a solo trekking expedition onto Mount Everest last year and attempting to kayak from Townsville to Cairns earlier this year. On both occasions he was solo and unassisted so had to carefully plan his meals for up to four weeks.
“If you get it wrong you’re in a world of hurt,” he says. “I was eating a lot of nuts and dry carbs, but also had to have various types of dry protein. That’s when having a fresh mandarin or apple on the kayak become such a great boost mentally. Really, there’s nothing better than fresh food – whether you’re training and competing or just going about life, you have more sustained energy when you eat real food.”
The Precinct Fresh Market will open on Thursday, September 25 at 7.30am. Get set for opening specials and lots of opportunity to sample the fresh juices… yummmmm….