COVID-19 has limited hospitality industry trade for local fruit, but lime producer Sam Slingsby hopes her innovative idea will blossom into a strong profit.
COVID-19 has limited hospitality industry trade for local fruit, but lime producer Sam Slingsby hopes her innovative idea will blossom into a strong profit.

Drawing a lime in the sand, farmer sows seeds of innovation

The lime trees are full of fruit, the kids are at home, and Sam Slingsby is experimenting.

She runs 1770 Limes with her husband Jay, and with cafes, restaurants and markets closed or doing restricted trade, they're looking to innovate.

"Pretty much anything that we can think of that you can possibly use limes in is on the list to at least trial," Sam said.

Like many small business owners, she said she had the "oh crap" moment when she realised her business model would no longer work as COVID-19-19 social distancing and shut down measures came into effect.

"We were just at that point where we could see that light at the end of the tunnel and we had some great customers, great friends and the markets were opening up for us, which was really awesome," she said.

The key is extending the shelf life of the fruit or transforming it into new products.

As will as juicing, cordial, soft drinks and pickling, she's looking into soaps, candle and beauty products.

"Eventually at some point before everything is back to normal, we are going to have to get the limes that are currently on the trees off the trees, or just give up on the season altogether."

Sam spent nine years in the pharmaceutical industry, and she's drawing on her experience as she investigates new lines.

"It's definitely helpful to not be starting from absolutely no knowledge whatsoever," she said.

She's also got some help.

"To have the kids at home and be able to do some little experiments with them helping us is actually kind of cool," she said.

With closure measures in place for the foreseeable future, she's thankful to be living in the Agnes Water/Seventeen Seventy area.

"The vast majority of small businesses are still open and everyone has adapted to what they need to do to make it through this time, or provide services that are needed by other people within the community," she said.

"It's really exciting to have the opportunity to slow down a little bit and look at other options, we are always keen for something new to look at or play with or do."

When they have visitors, the deal is usually a morning of work for an afternoon of fun, which had been the plan over Easter.

"We were really looking forward to getting maintenance done and seeing family, but that won't be happening," she said.

Instead it's a juggle of farm work, research and development and keeping the kids engaged.

"It's just a balancing act which is good in a lot of ways, it gets you out of the day to day and makes you realise what's important."

 

 

Abbie (4) and Zoe (6) Slingsby at 1770 Limes in Seventeen Seventy.
Abbie (4) and Zoe (6) Slingsby at 1770 Limes in Seventeen Seventy.

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