Natural food demand prompts Medowie expansion | photos, poll

The demand for chemical-free, fresh produce has prompted siblings Daniel Marquez and Nicole O’Neill to open a natural food shop in Medowie.

In the past two years the pair behind Tomatoes in Abundance have gone from selling a small amount of organically grown vegetables from outside their farm to opening a shop to keep up with demand for their produce.

“We had no idea the interest and demand for chemical-free produce would be as great as it is,” Mrs O’Neill said.

A poll run by Mrs O’Neill on the Tomatoes in Abundance Facebook page revealed that 78 per cent of the 220 respondents shopped with them because their produce is chemical free.

A further 12 per cent said they bought from Tomatoes in Abundance due to their produce being organic.

From this, Mr Marquez and Mrs O’Neill decided to expand and open a shop in Medowie called the Natural Food Collective.

Mrs O’Neill said the Natural Food Collective will be a one-stop shop for fresh, chemical-free produce as well as all raw, natural and organic wholefoods, pantry staples and bulk wholefood items.

Tomatoes in Abundance has a history in Medowie.

The business was run by the siblings’ grandparents, Luis and Mary Rodriguez, from their Abundance Road farm for 30 years.

Mr Rodriguez was the farmer, while his wife sold their produce from a small store on the property.

After Mr Rodriguez died, Mr Marquez quit his job as a chef and decided to follow in his footsteps.

He brought Tomatoes in Abundance back, but with a change – he does it all organically.

The life of an organic farmer is a tough one, Mr Marquez said.

“You can’t spray for weeds, you have to do it all by hand,” he said.

“It’s hard to get organic fertiliser, the elements are against you and so is the wildlife. I’m always chasing off rabbits and possums.”

Having grown up on their grandparent’s farm, fresh food has always been a way of life for Mr Marquez and Mrs O’Neill.

But organic food also became Mrs O’Neill’s way of life when it was found her two small children had allergies.

In her quest to source natural, organic whole foods for her family she founded Natural Food Collective.

The aim was to source these products wholesale, and provide the community with organic whole foods at an affordable price.

In joining up with Tomatoes in Abundance and opening a store, Mrs O’Neill will be able to achieve her goal.

“We will be providing the community with the best fresh produce straight from our farm in Medowie and a great range of high quality, nutritious, healthy, ethically sourced pantry staples and health products,” she said.

The Natural Food Collective shop will open on Tuesday, April 18.

It is located in the Ferodale Road shopping complex, near the chemist, vet and Opportunity Knocks pre-loved clothing shop.

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