From Paddock to Port

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For the fast growing cruise liner industry - fresh, premium produce is at the heart of the luxury experience it offers passengers.

Australians are changing the way we experience the world, in recent years more and more Aussies are choosing to go cruising both abroad and at home. According to a report from Cruise Lines International Association, the number of Australians weighing anchor on domestic cruises increased by a remarkable 40% in 2015, while globally our cruising numbers jumped by 15%.  

Without a doubt, the fine dining experience on an ocean cruise is fundamental to its appeal. Passengers often name fine dining, amazing destinations and value for money as the reasons they choose to cruise. With this and the recent rise in domestic cruising numbers, Australian chefs and producers are being presented with both a unique opportunity to showcase local flavours and a unique set of procurement challenges.

Simon George & Sons has established a strong relationship with the cruise liner industry, having supplied to the sector for over 50 years. From our experience, the produce supplied to cruise liners needs to meet two equally important criteria - firstly it needs to be exceptionally fresh as it may need to last up to 10 - 12 days on the cruise, secondly it must reflect the premium nature of the experience and therefore it has to be of consistently high quality at every port, while still being cost-efficient.

The scale of Simon George & Sons operations across Australia, our market knowledge and the quality of our service has helped our cruise liner clients to meet these challenges. As we move into the back end of 2016, we look forward to continuing to support them with the best produce from paddock to port.


Q: How has Simon George & Sons changed over its 80 year history?

The food service industry is a demanding one and no matter where you fall on the supply chain (from farmer to front of house) having a passionate, strong team around you is the key ingredient for success. With this in mind, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to the Simon George & Sons, St Peters management team. Over the last 12 months at St Peters we have cultivated a dynamic, passionate team who have the experience and the drive required to position Simon George & Sons as a market leader- who delivers both quality produce and a rewarding, positive customer experience.


Damian George: Director of Sydney Operations

Damian has a wealth of experience across all areas of the fruit and vegetable industry. Having worked in the wholesale fruit and veg business since he was 15, Damian’s extensive product knowledge and vast network of industry contacts offers our clients a unique advantage over the competition.

Stephen Quintano: Sales Manager

Stephen is a key member of the team. After 12 years working as a chef in Sydney and 30 years in the hospitality/food service industry; he not only appreciates good food, he understands the pressures of the kitchen and can offer valuable insights into menu planning and seasonal availability.

Angelique Soumaher: Sales Administration

Considered the rock of our Sales/Customer Service team, Angelique has been working in fruit and vegetable wholesale for just shy of a decade and knows everything there is to know about the administrational side of the business.


Murat Tasdemir: Operations Manager

Murat is a fairly recent addition to the Simon George & Sons team having come on board in the last few months. Murat’s ability to streamline and refine large scale operations makes him the ideal man to iron out the kinks and ensure our service is a market leader in efficiency and reliability.

Brett Marks: Floor Manager

Brett is a logistics man and it’s a good thing too, as he is responsible for making sure that a warehouse full of orders is picked, checked and delivered on time (by a fleet that can  travel over 1600km in a single day).


Clare Smethurst: Marketing & Promotions

Trained as a journalist but sold out to advertising/marketing very early on. Since then I have had the pleasure of bring surrounded by gourmet food working on or alongside premium brands such as Qantas magazine, Qantas Club Lounges, delicious and Vogue Entertaining + Travel.

A: While many things have changed in the fruit and vegetable industry since 1927 – the guiding principles remain the same and despite a strong commitment to innovation, Simon George & Sons hasn’t lost sight of the core values of hard work, customer service, premium product and meaningful, long-term relationships that made us a market leader. While we may be a large-scale operation, being family owned and operated we have the freedom to focus on the things that make us different: trust, reliability, personal relationships, know-how, culture and communication. Lets hope the next 80 years are as rewarding.


Q: What do SG&S buyers look for in their produce?


The off-peak season has hit Sydney and with the half-way point of the year fast approaching, now is an ideal time to reflect on the year that has been and kick-start your plans for the year to come. In our first bulletin of 2012, I talked about working ‘smarter not harder’ by monitoring the markets and staying a step ahead of fluctuations in both supply and price. Many of you have done just that and participated in one of our guided tours of the Sydney Markets, but for those of you yet to take part or for those seeking further inspiration, we invite you to put yourself in the driver’s seat and join us for an early morning, hands-on exploration of Sydney’s seasonal produce.

These tours enable chefs, procurement managers and other interested parties to experience first-hand how the range, quality and supply of different produce lines fluctuate throughout the year and how this then influences our buyer’s purchasing decisions. We encourage all our clients to take part in a market tour at least once a year, as they not only assist in menu planning, but also help SG&S to stay abreast of the changing needs of your kitchen and ultimately improve the service we provide. To whet the appetite, below are some insights into produce items/classifications that have recently raised interest at our market tours. 


Information on potatoes and best use by variety has to be one of our most ‘Frequently Asked Questions’. With over 66 varieties of tatties commercially grown in Australia, talking directly to the grower/agent, cutting them open and seeing their consistency (floury/waxy etc) can help answer these questions and aid in  selection.


Image: Provided

Availability: Winter crop

Appearance: naturally coloured with the same antioxidants as red grapes, the purple jester has a dark purple skin and bright purple flesh

Characteristics: full potato flavour and aroma

Best for: impact and quality in salads, small baked potato sides etc. Very versatile the purple jester can be baked, roasted, boiled, steamed





Availability: Mar - Nov

Appearance: light green- yellow thick skin and pale yellow flesh

Characteristics: sweet, mild grapefruit flavour

Best for: fresh consumption



Availability: Jun - Nov

Appearance: light green- yellow thick skin and pink flesh

Characteristics: sharper flavour than white variety

Best for: use like a pomegranate in salads or similar dishes



Similarly to potatoes there is an abundance of wonderful tomatoes at the markets. With the susceptibility of tomatoes to weather damage however it is helpful to handle and taste different varieties that could substitute for traditional romas or cherries in the kitchen.



Availability: all year

Appearance: small round tomatoes with distinctively striped skin and flesh that varies from a deep green to red-brown

Characteristics: sweet, aromatic flavour

Best for: substitute for cherry tomatoes for high impact colour and a sweet tomato flavour


GOLF BALL: (refers to size rather than variety)

Image: SG&S

Availability: all year

Appearance: round, red tomato approximately the size of a golf ball  

Characteristics: consistent in size, shape, flesh, seeds like a small gourmet tomato

Best for: great as a substitute for Romas and for portion control i.e. breakfast or salad tomato. Also good for roasting whole




As explored in our recent ‘Full of Beans’ bulletin, green beans are sold under classifications of machine picked, hand-picked and baby. Being on site at the markets, inspecting the quality of the beans and sampling their flavour, really is the best way to truly understand these distinctions and which is most suitable to your needs (and budget).


A: Each season the markets see new lines hitting the stands in response to agricultural development and changing culinary tastes, it also sees changing climate conditions and therefore hits and misses from our farmers and their harvests. Every foodservice business is different and as a result each client has individual needs and preferences relating to size, colour, and the maturity of their produce. To meet these needs and stay ahead of the changing market landscape, the buying team at Simon George & Sons works closely with over 400 growers/sellers, filtering through the 2.5 million tonnes of fresh fruit and veges sold at the Sydney Markets each year to source the highest quality produce for our clients at the best possible price.


“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” Bernard Shaw

While Bernard Shaw has been dead for over 60 years and was Irish to boot, this quote could not be more relevant to the Food Service industry in Australia.

As far as industries go, Food Service has to be one of the most competitive, dynamic and unpredictable. It demands constant self-appraisal and reinvention with little room for error. At a time when margins are so tight that it makes running a profitable restaurant nigh on impossible, I can’t help but think that it will be our ability to work together as a ‘food community’ and share knowledge/ideas that will propel the industry forward. 

With this in mind, Simon George & Sons invites you to join us at the FOOD SERVICE AUSTRALIA event being held at the Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Pk between Sunday,  27th May and Tuesday 29th May, 2012. Food Service Australia is a show dedicated to the Food Service industry; where everyone from producers to chefs can come to network, be inspired and find products and services relevant to their business needs.

For our part, Simon George & Sons will be hosting a killer stand at the event! You will find us in the thick of the action, halfway between the Restaurant and Chef theatres. Come join us for a chat about our speciality lines, processing plant and online ordering or simply come recharge the batteries and enjoy some fresh produce.

While you’re at it, why not enter ‘Chef of the Year 2012’ and take home $10,000 prize money! Won by Nicolas Poelaert from Embrasse in 2011, ‘Chef of the Year’ sees Australia’s best battling to create three knockout dishes from a ‘black box’ of ingredients in just one hour. As a sponsor of ‘Chef of the Year’ in 2012, Simon George & Sons is looking forward to seeing the wonderful talent of Australia’s chefs on show. Entries close tomorrow, click here to enter or find out more.

To join us in trading ideas and apples Food Service professionals can register at

We hope to see you there.

Easter Trading Hours 2012

Simon George & Sons will be trading Thursday and Saturday of the Easter Weekend, closed Good Friday (6th April), Easter Sunday (8th April) and Easter Monday (9th April), with business as usual from Tuesday 10th April.

 To ensure we are able to meet your produce requirements, please submit main orders and specialty item requests by close of business Wednesday 4th April, as Thursday is the final day of trade at the Produce markets for the Easter break.

PLEASE NOTE: Salad orders for the Easter weekend and Tuesday 10th April must be submitted before 12pm, Wednesday (4th April).

If you have any questions, please contact us on (02) 9519 1411.

Happy Easter from the team at Simon George & Sons!!


Q: Are seasonal guides redundant now that many produce lines are available year round?

Despite all evidence to the contrary, February is the last month of Summer and soon the hot, sunny days (we were supposed to have) will begin to give way to cooler Autumn months. Inevitably, the changing of the seasons brings new fashion and food trends, which for chef’s means a revamp of the menu.

So, to help ease the burden of menu planning we thought we would literally give you four seasons in one day and attach our new SG&S seasonal charts to this week’s bulletin. These charts serve as a quick reference guide to the fruit & veges you can expect to see in the markets each month.

These charts are also hosted on the Season’s Best section of our blog, however for those who want something more permanent to keep in their kitchen, contact SG&S and we will issue you with a laminated poster version which covers the full year.

Seasonal supply does vary, with individual lines arriving at the market early, late or in fits and starts due to unexpected weather conditions. So, keep an eye on our weekly buyer’s guide. Posted on our blog each Tuesday, these guides outline the week’s best buys, new season stock and any notable gaps in supply. To receive these updates directly, click on the follow button on the blog homepage and enter your email address.


Happy planning!


A: In short, no! We may not live by the Cordoba Calendar anymore (Google that when your bored!) but knowing your seasonal produce is the best way to serve up a cost-effective and reliable menu- rain, hail or shine.  Not only will the fruit and veg you use be abundant and therefore cheaper, it  will also be more nutritional and taste better, having been harvested at its peak and spared from travelling long distances.


This week’s Q&A bulletin is different, because this week we don’t have the answers!

At Simon George & Sons we like our inspirational quotes and as we enter our second year at St Peters,  we’ve taken to heart JFK’s principle that “efforts and courage are not enough without direction and purpose”. So with these wise words in mind, we’re asking for your feedback and ideas on how we can deliver more of what you want and need in 2012. To have your say and answer 10 quick feedback questions, please click here.


For our final bulletin of 2011, we thought we would share with you our vision and purpose for the coming year. While most resolutions will be abandoned before the sun rises on New Year’s day, this is one that you can count on in 20-12.




At SG&S, we believe that knowledge is power and in 2011 we launched a number of communication initiatives that placed our clients at the forefront of produce trends. In 2012, we will refine these initiatives and ensure they not only continue to inspire you with the season’s best but get you the best bang for your buck.

  • WEEKLY Q&A PRODUCE BULLETIN (Q&A): Each week we send out a bulletin on the latest products or services to watch out for. In 2012, these will feature exclusive and relevant content from suppliers, chefs and critics
  • MARKET MUSE (SG&S Blog): The SG&S blog currently hosts our weekly produce bulletins, market updates, company profile, team bios and seasonal calendar. In 2012, we will be updating the format and including an industry page which will profile various chefs, their food philosophies and their latest creations using seasonal produce
  • @SGSSyd Twitter Feed:  The SG&S twitter feed launched mid last year as a means for SG&S to become part of the worldwide foodie conversation. In the New Year we will be continuing to expand our twitter network, answer produce related questions and keep our followers up to date on the latest news from growers, chef’s and the markets
  • SYDNEY MARKET TOURS: SG&S will continue to offer guided tours of the Sydney Produce & Growers markets. Hosted by Simon George & Sons’ Director, Damian George, these tours offer us the opportunity to learn about your preferences and share tricks of the trade learnt over 35 years in the industry.



In 2011 SG&S supported a number of industry events. In 2012, we are looking to go that step further and actively involve ourselves in broader industry initiatives that help develop and grow the Sydney foodie culture.



To stay relevant in an ever evolving industry Simon George & Sons is continually adapting our business and improving our service. In 2012, we will continue to implement innovations that offer our clients greater reliability, convenience and cost-efficiency.

  • Online Ordering: This year SG&S invested in an online ordering facility that is efficient, user friendly and ultimately cost-effective for our clients. Orders are submitted via a secure page on our website where clients can access past order history, new orders and pricing at their convenience
  • SG&S FLEET: SG&S recently upgraded our fleet of refrigerated trucks and vans.  Custom built, the vehicles cutting-edge design enables us to deliver fresh produce safely and reliably every time. A state of the art tracking system also allows us to provide instant feedback on the location of deliveries, monitor potential delays and streamline delivery routes to better serve our clients

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback. We appreciate your support and look forward to working with you in 2012. Keep an eye out for the first bulletin of the New Year on January 26th. Until then we wish you all the best from the team at Simon George & Sons

To enquire or place an order please call (02) 9519 1411 or email us at

For our Xmas trading hours please click here


It’s that time of year again, when the decorations go up and the bank balance comes down! To help you prepare for the silly season, please find below our Christmas Trading Hours.

To ensure  you receive prompt delivery of your orders for Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, please submit them as early as possible. Please note that salad orders must be placed before 12pm on the last working day prior to delivery.

Many thanks and best wishes from the team at Simon George & Sons.


Q:  Just how packed does Sydney get in Summer?

The weather is warming up, the stone fruits are coming and it’s all hands are on deck for the summer rush. Simon George & Sons is doing our bit to help you come out the other side relatively unscathed, by offering an innovative online ordering service that will save you time, energy and money.

The Simon George & Sons e-Ordering system has been specially designed to make restocking the pantry quick and painless. We know that less time spent doing admin means more time taking care of business, so instead of phoning through an order line by line or firing up the old fax machine, you can now electronically submit your order via a secure section of the Simon George & Sons website.

Here are the advantages of e-Ordering at a glance:


Access your private online account using a unique username and password


Save a standard order of your basic items and your next order will be half finished before you’ve even started. Why start from scratch every time?!


Include specific delivery instructions and individual product requirements i.e. ripe only  on your order. These can be saved as default requirements for future orders


Customise your shopping list by hiding products you don’t want or need


Send a new order or update an existing order in minutes. e-Orders received before 1am will be processed for delivery that day.


Access your order history at any time of the day or night

To find out how to make the most of the Simon George & Sons e-ordering facility this summer, speak to your Account Manager or call us on 9514 1411.

A: On top of the 4.5 million + people who are lucky enough to live here, Sydney accommodates 7 million domestic tourists and 2.7 million international visitors every year. On a typical Sydney summer’s day, 26,000 hotel rooms are occupied, 90,000 people catch a ferry, 40,000 people bake on Bondi... and guess what... they’ve all got to eat. BANG!