Words Vicki Jones, Images Melody Leftus
Punnet is now offering customers the chance to experience a taste of the popular eatery at home with the introduction of a retail range of baked goods. From peanut brittle, chocolate chip cookies and rocky road to an addictive selection of fudge, marshmallows and biscotti.
The range is baked fresh in the Punnet kitchen, packaged onsite and sold in the eatery, Country Providore, at the local market and online. Punnet owner Haley Bicknell says the range is not just a product, but an extension of the Punnet story. “We want people to experience Punnet in a different way, to take a bit of our family’s passion home with them and to remind them of great experiences. It helps them relive memories of a good day out and be able to share it with others.”
Working alongside sister’s Emma and Kate, who own and operate Country Providore, Haley says it’s been a team effort, with head chef Sophie Beck the creative mastermind behind the recipes. “Although the businesses are technically separate, we work perfectly as a team. We have different skills and business imperatives but a shared vision. So working together on the retail range is really special.
“Sophie has a great knowledge of recipes which will retain their quality and flavour best. This is home baking like you’d make for yourself in your own kitchen—building on the Punnet philosophy of good honest food,” says Haley.
They use only recognisable ingredients with no additives, and they’ve also considered their environmental footprint by offering a returns refund on the glass jars they are packaged in. If you drop off your glass jar, you get $1 off your next purchase in Punnet or Country Providore.
Haley says the sisters have been blown away by the response to the range. “Peanut brittle was flying out the door last Christmas. It was the perfect gift.”
This success pushed the sisters to extend the range, try new things and include limited edition items based on season and availability. This includes a Christmas range, Anzac biscuits and treats for Mother’s Day.
As well as in jars, the items can also be purchased individually for a quick treat and also feature in Country Providore’s popular and customisable gourmet gift baskets. The baskets are either ready-made or can be customised, based on the person in mind or price range.
The sisters are passionate about business and believe the range adds to the value proposition that Punnet has as a destination eatery. “It’s a whole afternoon activity with food, strawberry picking, real fruit ice cream, a range of venues, and a playground. Every member of the family is catered for,” says Emma.
The sisters’ business journey began when The McMahon family took over the farm in 2003 and, as popularity grew, the eatery and store became natural extensions for a family day
out. Emma opened the Country Providore store eight years ago, with sister Kate later joining her as a partner and Haley taking over Punnet in 2013.
Set in the stunning surrounds of the Newell Road strawberry farm, they are one of the region’s most popular destinations and a must-visit in summer