Lychee Divine: Storming Fancy Foodie Fairs
People are talking about Lychee Divine, the little Fraser Coast enterprise that is storming the foodie shows in Queensland and NSW.
The lychee-based products created by the Pool family, using fruit grown on its Tiaro property and marketed through the Tinana South gourmet gift shop on the Bruce Highway, have been notching up 30% to 50% increases in sales year on year.
Lychee liqueurs, ice cream, caramelised lychee balsamic vinegar and other products sold so well at the Ekka this year that an emergency trip home had to be made for more supplies. A similar dash had to be made at the prestigious two-day South Bank Regional Flavours exhibition in July after Lychee Divine almost sold out on the Saturday. (Only 80 enterprises are selected each year for Regional Flavours and Lychee Divine has made the cut for four years.)
Stopping off this week for ice creams were Lyn and Bruce Partridge of Bundaberg (left). “A friend tried the Lychee Divine liqueur at the Sydney Royal Show and was raving about it,” said Bruce. “We had to stop.”
John Pool, a Kiwi with a farming pedigree, and his wife Kerry, an Aussie who grew up in NZ, crossed the ditch, lived on the Sunshine Coast a few years and started growing lychees at Tiaro. “We realised we had to value-add to flourish,” said John.
With son David and his wife Sheree, they did that with flair, creating Lychee Divine products and taking them to shows. Passion, hard work and smart marketing did the rest. The retail shop was opened 18 months ago in the Queenslander-style former information centre at the Tinana South service station complex near Four Mile Road.
The Pools have a wine licence (their cellar door liqueurs are big sellers and they also have wines from Golden Grove near Stanthorpe) but Devonshire teas are also popular for folks stopping to browse or relax in the friendly atmosphere.
“We are passionate about our farming and our fresh fruit,” said John. “It’s all going really well.”
Quality Fraser Coast products have been stocked at the gourmet gift shop: Bauple nut products, honey from Gundiah, Cobra Chilli from Hervey Bay. The Pools are trying to find time to source more local fare as Lychee Divine busily coaxes highway tourists into the Fraser Coast. With smiling pride the family champions the patch of paradise they now call home.
Said Sheree: “Maryborough is such a hidden gem with its beautiful centre of old buildings. Most of our customers are just going up and down the highway. We try to push them into Maryborough and Hervey Bay.”
Everything in the shop is Australia-made and the walls are decorated with award honours for Lychee Divine. How many enterprising treasures is that in Maryborough?
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