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Getting to know: Caroline Jennings

Published 7 May 2021

Caroline and partner Daniel outside their stall, SMM Organics

Of South Melbourne Market Organics

What inspired you to set up your business?

I’m really passionate about food and also cooking, so I was really interested in going into a business involved with fresh food in some way. We were also looking for a business that aligned with our values in terms of environmental consciousness and sustainability. I really wanted to work in a business where I felt like what we are providing is a positive for both our customers, and also kind to the planet. Having that sense of a positive purpose in my work is something important to me. It feels great to be making a positive contribution to our customers general health through organic food.

Why did you choose South Melbourne Market and how long have you been trading?

We both loved the vibrancy of South Melbourne Market, and felt this would be an ideal location for our business. I had also been a customer at the market for many years, so I knew what a great market it was from the customer perspective. I used to love coming on the mad Sunday afternoons with the spruikers all going full tilt - never imagining one day i would be one of them! We didn't know for sure when we started, but we also hoped it would be a great market for traders which it has been for us. We’ve been trading at the market now for five years.

Did you have a different job before setting up your business?

Daniel and I both came from very different backgrounds to where we are in our business now. I was working in advertising, which whilst I enjoyed, I felt like I always looking for a bit more sense of purpose in what I was doing. Daniel is originally from Borneo and his background was in animal conservation, having worked in a sun bear rehabilitation centre in Borneo. So we were really both coming in from totally different fields to go into an Organic Grocer.

Describe your products, what makes them unique?

We offer a full range of organic, ethical and dietary specific products in our store catering to the varied needs of our customers. This runs across both fresh fruit and vegetables and also dry grocery. All of our fresh produce is certified organic so that our customers can have faith in the ethics of the products that they are purchasing. Daniel puts a lot of love and care into the selection of our organic fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure that they are always the freshest and best quality available.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I love cooking and experimenting with all different types of recipes. Daniel is passionate about music and plays the guitar. He also love woodworking. We both love getting out in the outdoors whether it's just to the beach nearby or otherwise further afield like the thousand steps over at the Dandenongs. And our shared love is our 11 month old Airedale puppy ’Teddy' who keeps us constantly busy and also very entertained with his antics.

What’s your favourite recipe?

I feel like my favourite recipes change fairly frequently as I’m always trying new things in the kitchen. However a recipe that I’m enjoying making at the moment is: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Black Pepper Tofu - which I change up a bit by also adding some eggplant into the recipe. It’s really delicious!