Meet the Women behind some of your local Fruit and Veg Shops!
‘A better choice!’ is celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by highlighting just a few of the incredible women in the fruit and vegetable industry! Scroll through to learn more about these Women’s stories in the industry and get to know a little bit about what makes them great leaders and innovators in the industry.
Joanna is the heart of the kitchen at her family-owned fruit and veg store, Chiera & Sons Fresh Market. Joanna runs the incredible Joanna’s Kitchen and feeds her local customers gourmet-styled, traditional Italian cooking at affordable prices! While you may recognise her from her time on My Kitchen Rules, you can see her welcoming face every day at her Hollywood Plaza store she loves what she does and pours passion into her cooking – a great role model in our local community!
Meet Lisa and the wonderful team at Demaria’s Fruit & Veg! Demarias Fruit and Veg has been open for 10 years in Moonee Ponds, with the Demaria name being synonymous with fruit and veg growing and Melbourne’s wholesale markets for decades. In 1954, Pasquale Demaria moved from southern Italy and migrated to Mildura, growing fruit, and many years and generations later the Demarias own and operate Demarias Fruit and Veg in Moonee Ponds, Melton and a sister store in Richmond, Demaria’s Grocer.
Lisa is the current manager of Demaria’s Fruit and Veg. Lisa is the daughter of fruiterer Joe, and the only daughter among 3 brothers and she has been managing the store for 5 years!
After working in the corporate world as an executive assistant, Lisa eventually had the urge to come back and work with her family in the family business. Now as the store manager, she has implemented new systems and processes and bought her operational expertise to efficiently run the business. Demaria’s is now mostly operated by some incredible women, including Lisa’s Auntie, Rita who is the customer service manager, as well as student and Moonee Ponds local Emily, who often jumps on the forklift to unload the market delivery.
One of the challenges Lisa faces in her daily work is struggling to be taken seriously. She has experienced customers overlooking her to request assistance from male staff members, only to be directed back to her as the store manager. Despite this, Lisa says the industry has come a long way, and she sees herself at home in the family business. Lisa is excited about the future of the growing business and is always looking forward to new opportunities.
Meet Katie Bui who is the owner/director of Greens Garden Grocer in Essendon, Victoria! Greens Garden Grocer opened in November 2022 as a fruit and veg shop, grocer and florist. Katie grew up with her Mum being a chef, so she’s always had a passion for good food and feeding people. This passion followed her from her corporate job into a new direction for a role that would be more fulfilling by supporting her community and sharing her love of food and great quality produce.
Creating a fruit and veg shop is no easy feat, but Katie has grasped the challenge with both hands and is eager to learn more as she grows into this industry, noting that people are open to helping her when they can. Katie visits the Melbourne Market to source fresh fruit and vegetables for her store, and says that the early mornings on the trading floor are worth it for the great feedback she receives from her customers, including her Mum! Katie is also a local to the area and is passionate about establishing Greens Garden Grocer within the Essendon community.
Meet small business owner, super-mum and all-around incredible woman Gemma, from Scenic Rim Farmers Market in Beaudesert! Gemma doesn’t let being different in the industry stop her – in fact, she thrives on it. From hand selecting the store’s fruit and veg, driving the truck back to the store, unloading it with the forklift, stocking the shelves, serving customers and managing accounts, Gemma does it all.
Gemma genuinely enjoys being a part of the fresh fruit and veg industry and is excited to one day be able to show her young daughter how to thrive as a strong woman – just like her mother.
Meet South Aussie grower, Renee Pye! She is only in her twenties, but is already changing the Fruit and Veg game! She’s recently joined the AUSVEG board as a grower director and represents other South Aussie growers. She’s also kept very busy in her main role of Marketing Manager for potato, carrot and onion packhouse Zerella Fresh, for which she oversaw the development of a potato called Spud Lite which has significantly contributed to the company’s recent growth.
Incredible work to be achieving at such a young age, congratulations Renee!!
Look out for produce marked Zerella Fresh in your local fruit and veg shop and support Aussie businesses!
Meet Debbie Trimboli, Principal of Romeo’s Marketing (QLD) Pty Ltd.
Starting out as a 16-year-old cashier for her citrus grower grandfather, and now having spent 18 years as a fruit and veg wholesaler at the Brisbane Markets®, Debbie has lived and breathed the life of the markets and fresh produce.
Forging the way for young women in the industry, Debbie raised three children, whilst building a multi-faceted business with her husband as one of the largest distributors of niche tropical fruit. Debbie has been an invaluable asset to Romeo’s Marketing, bringing new ideas and innovation to push their business further with her unique perspective and problem-solving skills.
Celebrate the Women around you today and every day! Sharing a picture of the women in your life today? Tag us @abetterchoiceaus!