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Episode 11 – Penny Reidy

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#SeriouslySocial The Podcast

with Simone Douglas and special guest Penny Reidy

This week’s guest is Penny Reidy from Pick a Local, Pick SA! She and Simone discuss the importance of conscious purchasing, how to support local producers, and about their shared love of food.


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Hosted by Simone Douglas

Videography by Marie Carbone

Audio by Chris Irving


Music used in this episode is “Alte Herren” by KieLoKaz, used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence


This production is protected by a creative commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.


Chris Irving 0:00
Welcome to the #SeriouslySocial podcast with your host, Simone Douglas. This episode’s guest is Penny Reidy from Pick A Local, Pick SA. She and Simone discuss the importance of conscious purchasing, how to support local producers and about their shared love of food.

Simone Douglas 0:18
Okay, so I’m joined today by Penny Reidy on the red chairs from Pick A Local Pick SA, so Penny maybe just to start off with, can you give us the cliff notes version of what you guys are all about? Because most people probably don’t even understand that you’re an organisation in and of yourselves.

Penny Reidy 0:33
Yeah, so Pick A Local Pick SA is a marketing initiative that’s funded by the SA Produce Market, and the SA Chamber of Fruit & Vegetables, and our arena is to sell South Australian horticulture from the grower through to the retailer, so the more people that are purchasing from their independent fruit and vegetable store or supermarket, the more produce it is going through the South Australian produce market and the more demand on supply for locally sourced and grown produce. So we’re all about you know, building awareness around people being a bit conscious of their buy, conscious of supporting local buying local, and keeping that local horticultural industry alive and well when keeping independent retailers up and running. And that’s really important for so many different reasons. Yes, absolutely. And, you know, I heard someone say something the other day about it, it’s you’re not just buying from a business, you’re helping to feed a family, I think you said that.

Simone Douglas 1:36
That may have been me

Penny Reidy 1:36
I have taken that and run with it. Sorry. Yeah. And that’s, that’s really what it’s about. It’s about putting, putting those personal stories out there. When you pick up an apple off of, you know, the shelf, how does it get there? Who does it support? And how is that conscious buy for supporting local?

Simone Douglas 1:52
Yeah, absolutely. Do you think there’s been probably a closer focus on that in the face of COVID-19 and everything that’s going on? I know for myself, I’m much more focused on who locally am I supporting and how.

Penny Reidy 2:06
Yeah, absolutely. I think COVID is, whilst you know, it’s been terrible, and it’s a pandemic, and there’s been a lot of economic impact, you know, devastating economic impact, it’s actually been quite a positive opportunity for the independent retailers to really step up and show what difference they can offer. You know, the services that they can provide the the quality of the produce that they’ve got coming through. So, you know, these, these are retailers that are up at two o’clock in the morning, at the markets picking fresh produce on a daily basis to get these stores stocked by eight o’clock in the morning. So, you know, sometimes you might be putting a piece of lettuce on your, on your salad that night on your plate that has been picked that morning. Yeah, it’s that fresh, and it’s, you know, it’s the less handling and so COVID has really offered an opportunity for these independent retailers to really show those, you know, additional things that they offer. The quality, the freshness, it’s it’s local, you’re supporting a local family, you know, their family, multi-generational businesses, and people are really conscious of that. And as well, they’re smaller stores so you don’t have to go into a big supermarket. You know, I think a lot of people have really gone ‘Oh, I don’t know that I want to go into a big supermarket and walk all those aisles.’ And we even had the, you know, the opportunity that came when when the big supermarkets stopped doing home delivery, yes, all of a sudden. So I worked with we’ve got 99 retailers that are part of Pick A Local Pick SA. And so I worked with them, you know, how are you COVID Ready? What have you got that you can do to fill this gap. And it’s those businesses are really stepped up, and you know what we can offer, click and collect service, or we can do a produce box that it’s already packed, it’s locally sourced, it’s in season, it’s ready for you to go, you just come in great take it. We even had, retailers doing deliveries as well. When COVID first broke, I think I had about 18 of my 99 retailers doing deliveries, and we did a big push in a big campaign with them on getting ready for COVID and doing deliveries. And by the end of it, we had over 45 that were doing deliveries so and not easy for family owned businesses set up a website, you know, have delivery staff, but the ones that did it and did it well, they employ people you know, so it was an absolute opportunity for them to do that. And whilst we haven’t maintained the whole market share of that, and they definitely have maintained some of it, and it’s it’s been a great opportunity

Simone Douglas 4:38
With some of those businesses that are the independent ones that you’ve worked with that decided to pick up that model. So almost pivot as much as I hate the word but you know, add additional service offerings or explore markets they might not have touched because they were very comfortable where they were. How many of them do you think you’re gonna maintain that now that we’re not saying the same level of restrictions here in South Australia.

Penny Reidy 4:59
It’s definitely dropped off, you know, and we, we knew that they wouldn’t maintain their market share. But you know, even if they pick up 20%. Yes, you know, it’s 20% of that they didn’t have before. So, and we’re even seeing, you know, some of them have had that opportunity to showcase what they have to offer, and they’ve had, you know, customers from the other side of town that is still continuing to come back to them or still continuing because they’ve seen that level of service. And let’s be honest, we’re a small family owned business to set up a website, do you know, pack an order, deliver it as well, they weren’t making a lot of money. And it wasn’t, it wasn’t something that they did to make massive amounts of money but, you know, we’re an essential service. And the other thing is, as well, I think people, people are cooking a lot more during COVID. So and they’re a lot more health conscious, you know, we want to be looking after ourselves, want to think about what we’re putting into our bodies. And eating locally in season is a great way to look after your health and to maintain your body. So there was that opportunity that came as well.

Simone Douglas 6:10
I think people discover, like I was always brought up to share your wallet, like my grandparents and my mom are very big on that. So it’s always you go, you know, you might go to the supermarket to get x, y and z, but then you go to the green grocer to get your fruit and veggie, you go to the butcher to get your meat those kinds of things like don’t give all of your wallet to big supermarket or even to a medium sized, independent. But one of the happy benefits of that is that you discover just how fresher fresh produce is when you get it from a small independent retailer. So you know, I was going to the one on this one on Kensington road that’s like up at the top of Kensington road, and they have like fresh, locally grown tumeric. And they have, you know, like fresh, it’s not an artichoke, but it’s like that. So all these different things that they’ve clearly sourced locally at the markets. You know, it’s really fresh it holds up amazingly well, too so you don’t get the same level of wastage as if you’re going into a big supermarket and it’s been there for I don’t know how many days, and been shipped from the other side of the country. So how do we help those independent retailers though, cut through all the white noise and tell their story more effectively, so that they grow that customer base, because I think people do want to support those local retailers?

Penny Reidy 7:34
Yeah, and that’s one of the things that we have been focused on. We’re a new team in the Pick Local Pick SA campaign, I’ve been there just on 12 months saying new into the role new into the industry, and that is one of the things that we’re really focusing on is telling those personal stories. And I think that’s something that we have to hang our hat on, because let’s be honest, I don’t have the marketing budget of the big supermarkets and we can’t compete with them. And a little bit similar to what you said, we’ve been running a campaign we have, we’re very fortunate to have brand ambassador Callum Hann, the Master Chef he is our brand ambassador who’s actually been the brand ambassador for nine years. So he’s been in the campaign for nine years, and one of the things we’ve been doing with him is running a radio commercial saying, you know, just a $20 spend at your local fruit and veggie store. So it’s not about you know, we don’t expect that you’re going to take your whole big supermarket shop and move it into an independent, although the independents are diversifying and putting grocery items in and putting butchers in and putting delis in and stuff like that. But it’s about changing that behaviour of exactly that sharing your wallet, spend $20 just just try $20 a week at your fruit and veg store and see the difference, see the different range that you have access to and see the quality of the produce and how long that’s going to last with you. So, yeah, so we definitely, um, so by telling those personal stories, and we’re doing a lot of quite video blogs, on the people behind the scenes, like owns these stores and telling those personal stories about who they are, and you know, it’s mom and dad working together and you’ve got multi-generations in there and, and getting people to see the personal side of a store. It’s not just a business, it’s the family that you’re feeding,

Simone Douglas 9:21
Do you think that there’s an opportunity for them to capture the stories of their customers, you know, like when you look at that, you know, intergenerational type journey. So, you know, for example, when I go into the local fruit and vege now, it’s not me that runs around and picking everything. It’s my 13 year old my 10 year old I know exactly what we buy. We are that person that took our entire fruit and veg shop to the fruit and vegetable so I walk out you know, often $250 later, but it’s you know, I always look at it that it’s money well spent. Yeah, for that reason, but how do you, how can ythey capture those stories because I think when customers see people who look like themselves that triggers them to you know, then go on that journey.

Penny Reidy 10:01
That’s a really good thought and probably not one that we’ve looked at before. So I’ll take that and see what we can do. I mean, we do like to share, you know, customers are very passionate about their local store and, and they are their biggest advocates and reshare those stories and we have, you know, started doing social media posts on those comments that we get from the customers and sharing them with other people and letting them see that. So there’s definitely some social currency in kind of resharing testimonials and stories, and I think we have been focusing on that grower, wholesaler retailer, but why not tell the customer stories as well as something I’ll take on board? Thanks for that.

Simone Douglas 10:41
So if I was someone that was, you know, an end consumer, how do I identify that someone is an independent retailer?

Penny Reidy 10:51
Well, we have 99 stores in South Australia that have a Pick A Local Pick SA sign in their door. So look for the big red sign, and you’ll know that they’re an independently owned store, and that they’re buying their produce through the SA Produce Market, their sourcing locally, wherever they can, like, obviously, we still get produce that comes through the markets that comes from interstate, and that’s just because different seasons or different climates or whatever, but they will always source locally first. So if you look for the sign and see a sign in the store, then you know you’re supporting South Australia.

Simone Douglas 11:28
So I have actually driven out to the SA Produce Markets a long time ago because I was running some training out there for some of the vendors. And yeah, what what time did those poor humans start work? Because it’s really, I think people need to appreciate just what people fo through for our food.

Penny Reidy 11:42
Yes they do too. So the way it works is the we have wholesalers, we also have direct direct growers SA Produce Market as well, so they have their stores, their wholesale stores are ready for trade at 4am. So the wholesalers are there one o’clock in the morning, two o’clock in the morning, getting their stores ready for the retailers is coming and the retailers will start buying, the bell rings at 4am every morning. So that’s when the first wave of buyers will come through. And yeah, I mean, you wouldn’t think you know, for example, Claire, there’s a store in Claire the corner patch and someone comes down from Claire five days a week. And draw, you know, and does that drive, and does that, yeah? So and you know, and they they know their customers, they know the range, they’re also looking for what’s new on the floor and and they shop like we shop. So your retailer goes to the wholesale market to shop for their store. And the ones that are there at four o’clock in the morning and the ones that are getting the best produce. Obviously, they’re getting the best prices there. So yeah, but by you know, it’s it’s crazy. by seven o’clock in the morning, the wholesale market is pretty quiet, it’s all done and dusted by seven in the morning, so it’s a whole world that happens that, you know, we don’t even really think about

Simone Douglas 13:06
Yeah, it kind of makes it entertaining when you hear someone complaining that they have to start work at 8am. I am not sure I could do it. But you know, like, you see the thing, too, is with the wholesalers that’s, you know, multi-generational as well, so they will have been doing that for generation after generation.

Penny Reidy 13:22
Absolutely, yeah, I mean, I think about, you know, for example, Szabo boys, we’ve got Ralph Szabo, who used to be at the old East End markets, you know, it’s we’ve been out of practice for 30 years. But before that, I would say East End markets and Ralph’s a bit of an icon in the SA Produce Market in he’s, I wouldn’t try to guess his age, but I would say he’s, you know, in his 80s now, and him with his son, Tony are there every day in the morning, and you just can’t keep him away, you know, that it’s in their blood is, you know, this is what I really love about being part of this community is that salt of the earth really hard working people that, you know, to be honest, these guys have, you know, own lot 100 and own all these other different businesses and are on boards, and I’ve got lots of other farming activities going on and everything, but they they’re at four in the morning, you know, five, six days a week, and that’s what they love, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. So, you know, there’s, there’s one particular wholesaler at the market who’s a grower, a wholesaler, and a retailer. So, you know, he’s got his farm. He’s wholesaling. And then he’s got a garden’s market, at Chuchil Centre, so he’s setting it up and closing it down at six o’clock at night, and he’s been on the market in the mornings, you know, so they’re such hard workers, and the ethic that they have that they put behind it is, you know, amazing.

Simone Douglas 14:46
Well, I think that you raise a couple of interesting points and that so, I suppose, number one is absolutely that hard workers but you can, you know, the love that goes into the food when you’re growing food and selling food, you know, and even when we cook it at home, it’s that whole story. But also sometimes people make assumptions that these people are hard workers that not much else. You know what I mean? Like they don’t actually understand the science and everything else that goes into farming and goes into all of the other things that they do and how many diverse business interests some of those people have? And so I think sometimes it’s great to capture those stories as well, because that unpacks you know, this pre conception that we have about the economy here in South Australia and how it all works as well. So thanks very much for joining me on the red chairs been lovely to host you. And we’ll make sure that when we drop the podcast, we’ll definitely link through if you’ve got a listing somewhere on the website that lists all the independent retailers. But yeah, thanks very much.

Penny Reidy 15:43
Thank you.

Chris Irving 15:45
Thank you for listening to the #SeriouslySocial podcast. See our website for more details at Check the show notes for credits music used in the program and more details about our guests.



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