WHAT started out as a patch of raspberries three decades ago has become one of Tasmania’s most successful food businesses.
The Rocky Gardens business was established by Patricia and Graham Dyke at Bridgenorth 30 years ago when they planted a few raspberry canes in a rocky area of their garden.
Nowadays, the business is owned by Tim and Alison Mason who purchased it about nine years ago.
Mr Mason said it was after taking some of their relish, made from a bumper tomato crop, to a local market they realised the popularity of home-made products.
After running a service station business for a number of years, taking on the Rocky Gardens was a steep learning curve.
However, the couple has doubled the range of products to include about 54 different jams, fruit pastes, jellies, relish, pasta sauces, dessert sauces and cordials. Mrs Mason said they had also significantly increased production.
All their products feature Tasmanian-grown fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Mrs Mason said they worked closely with local commercial growers as well as keen home gardeners to find enough ingredients for their range.
Up until now they have been making all the products in a double garage at their home, which had been converted into a commercial kitchen.
Now they will shift production into a purpose-built kitchen at the back of their café at Shearwater, which opened in January.
“We wanted somewhere locals could come and have a coffee and something to eat.
It also gives us an area to showcase our products and people can buy them too,” she said.
Raspberry jams is their biggest seller and each year they use about two tonnes of raspberries.
“We get our raspberries from two growers down south, because they have the older varieties which make really good jam,” Mr Mason said.
Their products come in a range of different sizes and are sold at IGA and Hill Street stores across the state as well as through their website.
Mrs Mason said their range also included products made with fruit people were less familiar with such as tayberries.
Over the years a number of their products have also won awards including in 2019, when their Whiskey Marmalade won the Champion Preserve title at the Australian Food Awards.