GROWING CONCERN: Darren Pratt from RBS Produce with a tray of fresh produce for a customer.
GROWING CONCERN: Darren Pratt from RBS Produce with a tray of fresh produce for a customer. Mike Knott BUN211218BEE1

Iconic local fruit-and-veg boxes saved despite honey change

BUNDABERG community members were saddened to hear about the loss of RBS Produce's affordable fruit and vegetable boxes after it was announced earlier this week the local growers will not be continuing them in the new year.

But owner Darren Pratt said fresh produce lovers can rest assured as he and his family plan to work with another local business to ensure residents can still grab their favourite $20 boxes.

"The Endeavour Foundation on Fitzgerald St are looking at doing the boxes in about a month's time," Mr Pratt said.

"They're going to start doing the boxes because they grow a lot of product that we were growing as well.

"We will be helping them to grow more of the product that was in our boxes so they are going to be looking at doing that as well."

RBS Produce - named after Mr Pratt's three children Rebecca, Ben and Samantha - has been supplying locals with $20 fruit and vegetable boxes packed with fresh produce for almost four years.

Mr Pratt said RBS had now chosen to redirect their focus from growing produce to a second business venture; Bundaberg Honey.

"We're not going to be doing as much farming now, and concentrating on our bee business," he said.

"I love the bees. Honey is a beautiful, natural product, has a nice flavour to it and the bees are important to our environment."

Mr Pratt said it had been a lengthy process to set the transition in motion, with an estimated $12,000 spent on a suitable kitchen and obtaining the correct permits and approvals from Bundaberg Regional Council.

Bundaberg Honey is already selling more than 9000kgs of honey to local buyers annually.

"We sell (honey) at the Shalom Markets and people pick it up here," Mr Pratt said.

"We also have four shops in town that do stock our honey and that is growing as well."

He said community members can still expect to find the family-run business at the Shalom Markets selling the same produce they always have, just in much smaller quantities.

"What we're doing is we're going out of the fruit and veg, we're not going to be doing the boxes, we still will be doing the Shalom Markets and we still will have some fruit and veg at the Shalom Markets," Mr Pratt said.

 

Mr Pratt said he wanted to thank the Bundaberg community for their support and urged customers to pop down and say hello at the markets next year.



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