Meet the wholesale fruit and veg suppliers with over 40 years of industry experience
When you think of the food you're served whilst dining out, do you ever wonder where it’s come from or how it got there? One thing we’ve become really great at Australia-wide is supporting local and learning more about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of our produce.
Well, if you’ve dined anywhere local recently you can relax knowing that a lot of the produce is coming from local suppliers putting the money right back into our local economy. One business in particular, Rarity Wholesale, is putting an emphasis on working with our local businesses to ensure we’re all getting to enjoy local produce, from local suppliers, in our local venues.
The local family-owned business has been in the fruit and veg industry for over 40 years with Rarity Wholesale making waves for almost 20 years. The name, almost an institution for the area, will no doubt bring back many memories for those who have been purchasing local fruit and veg since day dot.
“I bought a little truck and I started going around the streets door to door selling fruit to people. I did that for many years and was in and out of fruit shops but obviously, with the big supermarkets stepping up their place in the market, they ended up pushing us out. So, I started doing wholesaling,” John said.
“Dad could see what was happening and that the retail fruit and veg sector was going to really struggle, so started serving wholesale out the back of the fruit shop. We were doing that for a few years until then he shut it down and moved into wholesale full-time,” John’s daughter, Gina explained.
So, what exactly is Rarity Wholesale?
At its core, Rarity is a wholesale fruit and veg company that has a passion for supplying the very best produce to a variety of venues including cafes, restaurants, caterers, childcare centres, aged care facilities and so much more.
From humble beginnings, the Rarity Wholesale team now consists of over 40 staff and 20 trucks, and just last year the team moved from Sandgate into a much larger facility over at Beresfield. With two large cool rooms, a dedicated processing room, packing room, and enough space for all 20 of their trucks; that’s a whole lot of fruit and veg!
“We had a big growth spurt in year 3 or 4. We had three trucks then four trucks and now we’ve got twenty! Coming from Sandgate to here, we’ve lifted the bar on what we can offer.”
Just like all of us, the local business was under a lot of pressure during COVID lockdowns, losing 75% of their business overnight once hospitality businesses were forced to either close or adapt. Thinking on their toes, the Rarity Wholesale crew knew they had the produce but just had to think of a way to get it out to people…
“Within 48 hours I threw together a Shopify online home delivery service. In the first couple of days of launching our home deliveries, it went bananas. We were doing $4,000-$5,000 a day in home delivery orders,” Gina said.
Whilst you can still get your hands on their fruit and veg boxes online here, it’s their wholesaling that they’re passionate about. Now that it is back up and running, Rarity are keen to get the word out to small businesses that they’re ready and roaring to get you some of the best local produce along with top quality service.
“We offer the convenience too. Customers could ring up saying oh I need such and such and I forgot to order it. We’re just here so we can always drop something off on our way. It’s not a hassle at all to do this for our customers. If you were dealing with Sydney suppliers, you wouldn’t be able to get that.”
Not just about supplying venues with their quality local produce, Rarity Wholesale puts an emphasis on supplying information and working alongside chefs with their menus to keep their costs down.
“Chefs are under a lot of pressure these days to maintain their food costs and be on top of their menus, so that’s where we come in to help them with that.”
Sourcing a lot of their goods from both Newcastle and Sydney, Rarity Wholesale delivers not only to our local region but all the way from the Central Coast up to Taree, inland to the Hunter Valley as well as all the way out to Scone, Muswellbrook, and Singleton. With over 400 businesses on the books, you can understand why they need all of those trucks!
Locally, Rarity supplies their goods to some of our favourite Newcastle cafes including Mockingbird Cafe, The Barn Adamstown, Three Monkeys, Hippo Espresso, and pubs like The Delany, and the Stag and Hunter Hotel to even some of the Hunter Valley’s go-to venues like Cafe Enzo, Deck Cafe Lovedale, Hunter Valley Gardens, and Petersons House (just to name a few).
This constantly growing local business has potential plans to expand even further North to Dungog and Port Macquarie as well as West into Tamworth, Murrundi, and even Dungog.
They’re also working on plans to create an Industry Open Day in conjunction with April’s Newcastle Food Month where businesses and industry professionals will be invited to explore the behind the scenes of Rarity Wholesale.
“We basically want to showcase what we have and what we can do. We want to tell Newcastle all about what Rarity Wholesale is,” John said.
Whether you’re a local business looking for a fruit and veg supplier, in need of getting some fruit and veg delivered at home, or starting up a new hospitality business, keep Rarity Wholesale, the Novocastrian family-owned business with over 40 years of industry knowledge at the front of your mind.