When South Australian couple Kathy and Paul Prosser, from Aussie Apricots, rock-starred into Swanbourne Market IGA X-press with a suitcase full of samples to showcase their chocolate-dipped apricots, oranges and fruit slice, owner Stephen Carre was flabbergasted.
"What the hell have you done with all my stock," Mrs Prosser asked.
"We sold about one month's worth of your stock in just two hours and we can't keep up with the demand for your dried oranges over there," Mr Carre replied.
This is a true Aussie-battler story at its best, where three generations of agriculture were threatened by the big guns. Instead of buckling under the pressure, the Prossers chose to diversify and go solo - needless to say, they've never looked back since making the decision seven years ago.
"We used to supply all our dried fruit (apricots, oranges and peaches) to a large dried-fruit company and had done so for 55 years.
"But when the company was bought by a foreign concern, things changed. The new owner dropped the growing price across all South Australian orchards by 12 per cent.
"We buy from other local growers and we all stick to a high standard. We've gone from producing around four tonnes, to nine tonnes and now 20 tonnes a year," Mrs Prosser says.
Her production line does everything by hand, from picking, cutting and drying, to dipping the fruit in chocolate, and packing.
The Aussie Apricots range includes white, milk, dark chocolate and yoghurt-dipped apricots and peaches, and dark chocolate-covered prunes.
"These are bought in from Hay in NSW . . . the only product we buy outside of SA," Mrs Prosser says.
The WA favourite is dark chocolate-dipped oranges "which taste like Jaffas" and an insanely good dark chocolate-coated apricot and peach slice.
"There's no bulking agent in this - just pure fruit. But don't go eating a whole pot or you'll be in trouble if you know what I mean," she says.
We do . . .
Plain dried apricots and peaches are also available, as are a selection of jams as seen on the company's website at aussieapricots.com.au.Stockists include Swanbourne Market IGA X-press and other select IGA stores, Black Truffle, Peaches South Fremantle, the Herdsman Churchlands and the Boatshed Market Cottesloe. Prices start at $7.99 for a 200g pot.