Produce chain is going small, but personal

Produce chain is going small, but personal

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HOME DELIVERY: Matt Doherty, with his wide Jodie, have built up a business supplying fruit and vegetable in boxes to homes and businesses.

HOME DELIVERY: Matt Doherty, with his wide Jodie, have built up a business supplying fruit and vegetable in boxes to homes and businesses.

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A fresh produce home delivery service is meeting customers' needs during the virus outbreak.

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AS large supermarkets struggle with panic buying and keeping shelves stocked due to the coronavirus outbreak, smaller online businesses have stepped into the online space.

Customers of Woolworths's online shopping received an email advising them that orders had been cancelled.

At the same time small business operators providing online ordering of produce and delivery are stepping into the gap.

Maryborough's (Victoria) Little Produce Box owners, Matt and Jodie Doherty, have been inundated with new and existing orders for produce.

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Mr Doherty said the business they were "flat out" meeting the demand in the past few days.

"We've had a number of past customers who hadn't been buying for a while coming back. We are always getting new customers but the whole week is busy," he said.

He said there were some shortages in the wholesale markets across most lines and increased prices.

If you don't do social media in this day and age then you will be left behind. - Matt Doherty

That made it challenging to fill orders in full and there was no doubt that some lines would become unavailable in the coming weeks.

He said the wholesale market management had assured the public that all necessary precautions were being taken from harvest to distribution.

Deliveries for Monday had to be ordered by 7pm Sunday night with boxes delivered to wholesale in the morning and home deliveries after that.

In one week earlier this month, there were 34 orders to around Maryborough, Talbot and Carisbrook.

On another day, it delivered 32 to Bendigo - a business that started two years ago.

He said social media was critical to the business.

"If you don't do social media in this day and age then you will be left behind," he said.

He said the business grew out of a start selling eggs out the front gate with an honesty box. It was designed to teach their kids that if you worked you got money.

PRODUCE: A typical box of fresh produce from the Little Produce Box, Maryborough, with a range of product.

PRODUCE: A typical box of fresh produce from the Little Produce Box, Maryborough, with a range of product.

The next stage was growing their own vegetables and putting a few boxes together.

That developed from buying from a wholesaler in Ballarat to travelling to Melbourne to buy directly from the wholesale market.

Orders are taken Sunday night each week to tally up the requirements to ensure produce can be bought in bulk.

Produce is collected in boxes according to what people ordered.

The main intention with the boxes was to get people back cooking again, he said.

With Jodie, a chef by trade, the idea was to get the generations of people who couldn't cook, cooking again.

"People have lost the ability to prepare their own food. Cooking should be done to your own taste," he said.

The story Produce chain is going small, but personal first appeared on Stock & Land.

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