Narelle and Stephen Ratcliffe supply the finest bush conserves, condiments and chillies to those who appreciate fine foods.
Originally a Brisbane girl, Narelle spent 14 years in Perth where she met and married Stephen in 1986. Time for a sea change, the Ratcliffe's decided to go back to Narelle's Queensland roots and made the move to the Sunshine Coast's renowned Maleny.
Here Narelle managed the local Maleny IGA for 10 years before going out to Mundubbera to run the IGA for 12 months and then resettling in Maleny.
Meanwhile, Stephen worked at Maleny Motor Trimmers which was next door to Country Harvest Australia. It all started when Stephen found out that Country Harvest Australia was for sale and that is when they both decided to take the jump and buy the business. Narelle and Stephen have now owned the business since June, 2004.
From 2004, changes have been made to the products to make them more refined and polished however the company's insistence has never changed which is for all ingredients and preparation to exceed all standards of quality.
"People just can't believe we do it all ourselves," Narelle said. "But we cook it, bottle it, label it, box it and put it on the pallet and sent it to our distributors!"
Over the years, the products have been subtly polished and refined but one thing that has not changed - the company's insistence that ingredients and preparation exceed all standards of quality.
There are, of course, no preservatives or colourings in this low sugar - content range. The fruits, herbs and vegetables are painstakingly sourced (most from local suppliers) and preference is given to chemical - free and organic produce. Time is given to the preparation of each product. The conserves, for instance, are just brought to the boil before bottling so that the natural flavour, colour and goodness are retained.
Country Harvest has another secret ingredient - being based in the township of Maleny. This small town, nestled in the rainforest hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, is gaining a reputation for gourmet, boutique foodstuffs and Country Harvest is leading the pack.
"Know who you do business with....."