2019 Fresh Awards Winners and Finalists

Produce Grower Award

Flower Grower Award

Wholesaler Award

Blogger Award

Greengrocer Awards

2019 Greengrocer of the Year

Kareela Grocer
Shop T8, Kareeal Village Freya St Kareela, NSW

Kareela Grocer, located in Sydney’s Sutherland shire, is owned by Paul Moraitis and managed by a stellar team of workers including Sam Marando, John Coutsoudes and Leanne Riccio.

Taking your traditional fruit shop to a new level, Kareela Grocer is a foodie’s paradise, overflowing with fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and mouth-watering gourmet grocery lines. The displays are attractively presented with a strong emphasis on colour blocking to showcase the season’s finest produce.

The stores unique offerings include, a salad bar that makes daily fresh salads, juices, yogurts and locally famous fresh guacamole. The team prides themselves on minimal waiting times to get through the checkouts, industry experts working the floor full time and innovative ideas to highlight their fresh offerings. Last year, they even offered a Halloween pumpkin carving demonstration!

Kareela Grocer has adapted for modern consumers in almost every way imaginable – running a website and app that offers a digital loyalty program and even the option to pre-order and pay before entering the store! They frequently run competitions and support local community groups.


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Best Small Business

Fruiticious - Gymea
87 Gymea Bay Road, Gymea, NSW

This well presented and welcoming boutique greengrocer was reopened by Saleh Saleh in 2018 and has quickly established itself as an outstanding, consistent and reliable place to procure the freshest seasonal produce and a resourceful selection of gourmet groceries.

The success of this small greengrocer is a testament to their dedication and willingness to adapt to their community’s needs and delivering premium quality produce hand in hand with friendly and accommodating service. Sal thanks his dad Moses for his extensive knowledge in the fresh produce industry and his tireless work ethic.

Along with the traditional seasonal lines of fruit and veggies, Fruiticious offers an extensive range of smartly presented semi-prepared fruits and vegetables, including freshly-shelled peas, top and tailed beans, julienne carrots and celery sticks, peeled baby potatoes, fresh fruit salad, stir-fry and salad mixes, peeled and chopped pumpkin and sliced mushrooms.

Fruiticious caters well to their time-poor customers, offering healthy, value-added or semi-prepared products to make meal preparation quick and easy.


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Best Medium Business

Ziggy's Fresh - Fyshwick
G3 Fyshwick Markets, Daly Street, FYSHWICK, NSW, 2609

Located in the popular Fyshwick Fresh Food Market in Canberra, Ziggy’s Fresh is an impressive greengrocer offering a comprehensive range of quality fresh fruit and vegetables. It is evident that dedicated owners of Ziggy’s Fresh’s, Ken and Toni Irvine along with their extended family are passionate about fresh produce and strive to be the best in the business.

Over the past decade, Ziggy’s has seen some significant changes and improvements. A recent shop refurbishment included a new cheese cabinet, a fresh colour scheme and a promotional truck.

Bright, modern and inviting, Ziggy’s Fresh has a unique market feel with an appealing sophistication in produce presentation and quality. Clear branding and high impact signage provide visual appeal and clearly indicate daily ‘specials. For convenience, a good range of freshly-baked breads, gourmet groceries, dairy goods and eggs are also available.

Ken and the team pride themselves on quality, presentation and experience. They have a thriving loyalty program and a flourishing following on social media – making sure their fresh offerings are seen far beyond just their local Canberra community.


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Best Large Business

Minto's Fruit Orchard
42 Ben Lomond Rd, Minto, NSW

Brother’s Sam and Frank Murdocca have been in business together for almost 50 years and trading from their current site, Minto Fruit Orchard for over 22 years.

The store has gained a solid reputation for quality, range, freshness and exceptional customer service and recently underwent a full renovation which included updates to their deli area, internal and external lighting, an upgrade to their external façade and a total rebrand.

In addition to beautiful fruit and veggies, Minto's Fruit Orchard also offers fresh cut deli meat, a meat department with 3 full time butchers on site and a variety of groceries. They maintain their relevance with modern customers through a strong social media presence and ‘offers of convenience’, such as home delivery. The biggest influence over their business is always their customers. They say that listening to the feedback of their customers is incredibly important, as well as keeping abreast of what local and overseas market trends are. They attribute this approach to their success – constantly adapting to an ever-changing market.


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Service Excellence

Farmer Bob's Fruit Market Brewery Lane
3-5 Phillip Street, TAMWORTH

Owned and operated by locals Brendan and Vikki North, Farmer Bob’s Fruit Market located in the regional township of Tamworth has earned a solid reputation as being a fabulous place to pick up the freshest fruit and veg.

Locals have the opportunity to shop at the main store or the smaller satellite store a short distance away in Brewery Lane. While the main store has won several awards in the past, it’s the Brewery Lane store that takes out the 2019 Fresh Awards Service Excellence Award in recognition of their high-level customer service.

Genuine, helpful and friendly, this boutique store has country charm, is well presented and nothing is ever too much trouble for the team. They consistently deliver quality, value for money and a total shopping experience.

Gift baskets are available upon request, home delivery options can be booked through their website and they even run a weekly competition to keep their local community engaged.


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Retail Presentation

Parisi's Food Hall
21 Dover Street, Rose Bay, NSW, 2029

For the last decade Parisi's Food Hall in Rose Bay, has been an industry benchmark for outstanding quality and store appearance. The interior of this Eastern suburb’s greengrocer is a stylish blend of marble and terrazzo. It’s light, bright and spacious and caters exceptionally well to the community's taste and needs.

Operated by the experienced and passionate team of Peter Morelli, Mario Bombardier and Claudio and Albert Guerrera, this Dover Road store is a showcase of stunning quality fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers and so much more.

A great deal of time and attention is allocated to this store's presentation. Maximising the use of colour and shapes, the team at Parisi's create artful displays. Paris's Food Hall is spacious, spotlessly clean, well-lit and recipe cards are strategically located at the entrance to the store and around the store in conjunction with produce stacks to offer inspiration to their customers at the point of purchase.

There is no doubt Parisi's Food Hall is enticing more customers which is evident in the constant stream of customers that flow through their doors.


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Knowledge in Action

Shop 28, Pacific Square, 707-745 Anzac Parade, Maroubra NSW 2035

Wendy and David Agostino have worked in fruit and vegetable retailing for over 35 years. They have owned and operated Freshworld Maroubra for 12 of those years.

With strong family roots in the industry, Wendy and David said the most significant influence on how they operate their business has been David’s father, Sam.

Freshworld Maroubra is well managed and the team work hard to service their valued customers. Time and time again, this stores product knowledge when put to the test proved accurate and was always offered in a generous and friendly manner.

The store is constantly evolving – offering new lines of produce, new shop layouts and displays. They frequently give back to their local community, sponsoring local sporting clubs, donating to schools and supporting local not-for-profits.


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Florist Awards

2019 Florist of the Year

Jodie McGregor Flowers
123 Johnston, St Annandale, NSW

Jodie McGregor Flowers has over 26 years’ experience in the floral industry and attributes her love of floristry and her early learnings to her grandparents who grew beautiful poppies, sweet peas, Mr Lincoln roses and much more.

This award-winning Annandale florist continues to blossom and its success is a testament to Jodie, her partner Stu White and their talented team’s hard work, exceptional customer service and exquisite floral arrangements.

Jodie McGregor Flowers philosophy is to produce floral arrangements that are creative and exceptionally fresh, as well as offering an outstanding customer experience so enjoyable that buying flowers becomes an addiction! Customers appreciate the little extra’s like the free floral preservative and thoughtful inquiries to help them select the right flowers for their occasion.

The store presentation is stylish and organised with a clean and contemporary feel that displays a generous range of flowers. Jodie Mc Gregor’s on-line presence is informative, user-friendly and showcases seasonal flowers presented in their unique style. This florist has a loyal legion of followers supporting their social media pages, which are consistently adorned with colourful floral arrangements reflective of their artistic flair.

Another initiative of the Jodie McGregor brand is the consistent efforts to nurture her flower adoring community by publishing a weekly Flower Addicts newsletter that is educational, informative and entertaining.


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Retail Presentation

Eden Flower Design
Shop 38, 11-13 Main Street, Mount Annan, NSW

Mother and daughter team, Michelle Stringfellow and Shari Tindle opened the doors to Eden Flower studio in Mount Annan 11 years ago.

Their style has traditional roots with contemporary materials. Lush bouquets are their signature design. They are constantly looking for inspiration online from overseas florists, as well as home and clothes designers. They pair the latest trends with the requests of their customers.

Guided by the idea of bringing joy to their customers through fresh flowers and exceptional service, Eden Flower Studio is a beautifully lit, well presented store that offers a stunning selection of pre-arranged bouquets as well as loose florals for custom designs.

Their window displays are spectacular creations that reflect the artistic talents of their team and are often themed according to seasonal events or significant days throughout the year.

The store is also stocked with a fine selection of gifts including candles, hand creams and vases from local Australian businesses as the team are big believers in supporting other ‘small’ business operators.

Eden Flower Studio also hold monthly floral workshops, promising an evening of flower fun, creativity and guaranteed laughs as well as classes for bridal parties and flower crown workshops.


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Merchandising and Branding

Touchwood Flowers
Shop 4, 124 Gordon St, Port Macquaire, NSW

For 14 of the 16 years that Ashley Sargeson has worked in floristry she has owned and operated Touchwood Flowers in Port Macquarie. The Touchwood style is simple, elegant and tropical and is largely inspired by Ashley’s regular family holidays to Bali.

Having undergone a major rebrand, Touchwood flowers recently launched a brand-new website, logo, business cards and a re-usable tote bag. The informative and easy to use website is reflective of their contemporary rebrand and allows customers to conveniently shop online.

A free flower reminder service is available so that customers are sent an alert ahead of any special occasion as well as an in-store bridal studio that caters to their numerous wedding clients.

The team frequently stay in touch with their loyal customer base via their social media channels and often post about their floral creations and new in-store products.

Community involvement is extremely important to Ashely and the Touchwood team. They have a long history of supporting and giving back to the local community. The team continuously work to improve their practises to ensure it is in line with their green commitment by recycling floral wrapping where possible, re-purposing fabric ribbons for arts and crafts and re-using boxes and baskets for general storage.


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Service Excellence

Bella Floral Boutique
5/63 Dora Street, Morisset, NSW

Carmen Wells and her husband have owned Bella Floral Boutique for 6 years. Carmen’s average day begins with a trip to the Sydney Flower Market, starting at 2am. She admits she often finds it hard to stick to her budget – regularly filling her van with an abundance of seasonal inspiration. Before embarking on the 1.5 hour drove back to her stores. By 8.30am, she’s back at the shop unpacking and getting ready for the day alongside her team.

Carmen’s style involves simple colour palettes and natural products, often inspired by nature. She encourages her staff to embrace their own unique styles which in turn result in great in-store variety.

The mantra ‘do what you love and you will always be happy’ resonates through the entire team at Bella Floral Boutique who pride themselves on taking the time to get to know their customers from start to finish to ensure they feel valued at every point of interaction.

Bella Floral Boutique is proudly built on old fashioned values - good quality, value for money, treating people how you would like to be treated, doing what you love and surrounding yourself with like-minded talented people.


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Grower Awards

Produce Grower of the Year

D Fresh Produce

Famous for their always fresh bok choy, owners Damien and David Lin from D Fresh Produce were originally based in Sydney but made the move to Mangrove Mountain to expand their family business.

Situated on 50 acres, D Fresh Produce now grow 10 times more herbs and vegetables including premium quality white radish, baby bok choy, shallots, coriander, mint and parsley, that they sell from their stand in Sydney Growers Market Mondays to Friday.

Having done a lot of research and staying up to date with industry trends, the brothers use hydroponics and in-ground methods across their indoor and outdoor plantations. Originally done by hand, the use of machinery has made the harvesting process less labour intensive with Damien expressing how they chose to use hydroponics as it increases productivity making it easier to manage the end result.

Damien also frequently travels the country and internationally to learn more about the industry, new and upcoming products and technology.


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Flower Grower of the Year

Commercial Flower Growers

Kellyville flower grower Aldo Vumbaca has been growing flowers for 41 years and is renowned for his superb quality chrysanthemums. A third-generation flower grower with a passion for his craft, Aldo trained as a panel beater, but was drawn back towards enjoying a more peaceful yet busy world of flower growing.

Aldo recently completed construction of a new 2.5 acres, state-of-the-art greenhouse; custom built for Australian growing conditions at their Kellyville farm. This passionate flower grower is now harvesting fresh chrysanthemums all year round, offering a premium bunch out of season and fresher than imports.

Aldo’s farm is immaculate, well organised, environmentally friendly and the new growing facility is a showcase of clever time saving technology. Growing undercover allows Aldo and his dedicated wife the opportunity to harvest around 5,000 bunches of chrysanthemums weekly.

Aldo’s average working day spans 12 hours - beginning with watering his seed stock, the day is then filled with planting, picking, bunching and preparing for market. Trading Thursdays and Saturdays from the Sydney Flower Market, Aldo takes the opportunity to research with florists to gain insight into their floral needs. He travels overseas on occasions to look for new varieties and keeps up to date with global flower trends.

Aldo said he is motivated by the thought that his flowers create smiles, joy and happiness to those who see and hold them. He never stops striving to improve – always believing that his best crop will be his next crop. Aldo believes that it is these commitments that give both his business and product an edge in the marketplace.


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Fresh Produce Wholesaler of the Year

Export Fresh

Export Fresh is a Sydney Markets-based wholesaler owned by ex-chefs Tony Mann and Paul Bottell. This unique wholesaling business focuses on integrating the concept of farm to the plate - growing, wholesaling and marketing their speciality products to elite chefs and the restaurant scene.

What started out as two-man operation, solely selling salad greens, has blossomed into a well-established business with 20 years’ experience that wholesales a boutique range of the tastiest, flavoursome salad lines, hydroponically-grown leaves, edible flowers, micro herbs and unique, petite gourmet vegetables.

Their popular Petite Bouche brand includes speciality lines like borage, lovage, olive herb, ice plant, Japanese land seaweed, garlic kale and wasabi mustard, catering to creative, adventures leading chefs.

Apart from the unique quality products that Export Fresh wholesale, what makes this business stand out is the way they have marketed their business and products, running farm tours, and informative chefs’ luncheons to educate them on their products as well as featuring a Petite Bouche Chef of the Month as part of their marketing mix.


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Blogger of the Year

Leaving behind a career in banking and being a new migrant to Australia, Sonali Ghosh established her blog Sugar et al in 2013 to share her passion for baking, food styling and photography. What started as a creative outlet to write about the beautiful discoveries Sonali found whilst visiting farmers markets and the delicious new ways of baking with fresh produce she discovered has become a successful blogging and photography business.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an integral part of Sugar et al because not only do they add an extra element of texture, flavour and colour but they also make the most beautiful, achievable and affordable garnishes.

Sonali’s metaphorical approach to her blog post My Imperfect Pie reveals how an imperfect situation, teamed with an imperfect fruit created the perfect positive outcome. It extols the merits of shopping local and supporting your independent greengrocer, whilst highlighting the inspiration and driving force behind her ongoing successes, her 9-year-old twin boys.

Collectively ranked as this year’s favourite, the winning blog post is a carefully crafted story that delivers beautiful photography and a unique approach to the fresh blogging.


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