The story of us
In 2008, two entrepreneurs who shared the same passion for fresh produce joined forces to create the ultimate fruit and vegetable wholesale company, Suncoast Fresh. Managing Directors, Duane Ashton and Graeme Twine, previously worked in fruit and vegetable distribution and Graeme also practised as a Chef, running his own kitchen and team. Collectively, their ever-expanding knowledge, experience and understanding of the industry as well as their gentility and grit made for a perfect duo when it came to launching and running the business.
Where we started
IT ALL BEGAN IN NOOSA AND OVERTIME AS THE TEAM GREW, WE EXPANDED INTO BRISBANE, GOLD COAST, BYRON BAY & TOOWOOMBA.
Thirteen years later and we’re still an owner-operated business that has become iconic market leaders supplying some of the best restaurants, cafes and bars the South East Coast has to offer. We have three HACCP approved warehouses located in the Rocklea Fruit Markets in Brisbane, Coolum and Byron Bay. However, service beyond these areas.
Many of our team members previously practised as Chefs and hospitality workers before starting their Suncoast career so we have a thorough understanding of all the ins and outs within a commercial kitchen environment. We maintain close links with our local farmers and have a full-time presence in the produce markets and consistently source the right product for the right price, anticipate trends and stay up- to-date with the industry changes.
We consider it our privilege to share our weekly market knowledge with our customers and consistently communicate through several channels to ensure the most up-to-date information is passed on. This information provides transparency, helping Chefs and customers alike to cost their menus with better precision, so they can stay ahead of the curve ball, with ample time for planning and preparation.
Additionally, we’ve introduced several processes that aim to enhance the environment we live and work in, rather than take away from it. Some of these initiatives include collecting, reusing & recycling boxes, composting green waste, melting down Polystrene boxes to be recycled and our Go Green Digital Initiatives. We also made the conscious decision to switch from generic power to renewable energy.
WHAT DOES SUNCOAST’S LOCAL KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE MEAN FOR YOU?
We have over 40 years of industry experience in fresh produce, and maintain an incredibly passionate team of individuals who are constantly up skilling to stay ahead of the game.
We consider the finer details of your needs like size, grade, ripeness, flavour and variety. This tailor-made approach ensures you get exactly what you need at the correct price as we understand that each product has its purpose.
Wholesale Order App
We've designed an easy to use wholesale app with up to date pricing so you can have a better idea of your food costs. You can order from wherever, whenever and even design your very own pantry lists to make ordering faster!
We have direct supply of quality produce from over 40 local farms and the three major produce markets. Are you a local farmer? Feel free to reach out, we're always looking to expand our network.
We have worked alongside brands like Oz Harvest, Surf Life Savers, Australia Zoo, White Jacket Effect and Cystic Fibrosis Queensland, and regularly donate and support charities where we can.
To keep our service personal, we have dedicated Account Managers in each location we service. Each manager is only a call away if you ever need anything!
Not just Fruit & Veg!
Fill two needs with one deed, order your produce and juice from the same supplier! We have access to wider ranges including fresh juice, eggs and processed veg.
We have a strong focus on seasonal eating and educate our customers and followers with daily videos, weekly newsletters, blogs, farm tours and more.
We have an eco-friendly philosophy that focuses on reducing carbon emissions, food waste and single-use plastics.
We have weekly specials on your favourite lines via our Wholesale Ordering App. We like to focus on bulk lines that are used more regularly so you can keep your food costs down.
Meet the Team
Duane AshtonManaging Director
Duane has been in the produce industry for as long as he can remember. Founding Suncoast Fresh was a natural progression for Duane after working within similar businesses. Duane enjoys providing service above and beyond and makes it his mission to ensure his customers are happy with everything they need. Duane has a young family and works on his car and property in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in his spare time.
Graeme TwineManaging Director
Graeme was an award-winning chef and spent some time travelling during his early years before moving back to the area he grew up in, Byron Bay. After transitioning into wholesale fruit and vegetables, Graeme quickly developed a knack for dealing with growers and chefs. Graeme founded Suncoast Fresh with Duane and is now based in Brisbane, looking after the businesses marketing and purchasing side while still keeping in touch with chefs from all areas. Graeme sees himself as a fresh produce ambassador and takes great pride in providing chefs with the best that our region has to offer. He's very much the face of the business and creates awesome educational content for Chefs, which has caught the attention of many. Check him out on the @suncoast_fresh Instagram.
Scott ElliottGeneral Manager
Scott joined Suncoast Fresh as General Manager in 2017. He is a management professional with over 25 years’ experience in leading teams and building strong business culture. Scott moves across all of Suncoast’s divisions bringing a unique edge in providing support and guidance to our managers plus helping Duane and Graeme with key business decisions. Self- described as the glue that binds many pieces of our business together, he provides stability and effective communication at all levels. Scott is a loved up family man, the father of three spirited teenagers and still enjoys a game of soccer with his mates.
Ben Green Sunshine Coast Manager
Ben is a chef by trade and has been with Suncoast Fresh since the beginning; if you have called the office, chances are that you have spoken with Ben (or left him a message). Ben is recently married and lives on the Sunshine Coast with his wife. He’s a keen golfer and home renovator.
Sam Johnson Byron Bay Manager
Referred to as a pillar in Suncoast Fresh's foundation, Sam looks after the Byron Bay and the Northern Rivers division. Sam has been working within the fruit and vegetable industry and
alongside Graeme for over 20 years. Sam has been instrumental in implementing many of the Suncoast Fresh systems and is especially passionate about sustainable practices, which he has greatly assisted with. His relationships with local growers has ensured a consistent and unique supply to our customers.
On the weekend he likes to surf, fish, drink beers, eat good food and hang out with his family and friends at the beach. A typical Byron bloke known and respected by everyone, and genuinely connected to the local community.
Glenn ConnorBrisbane Manager
Glenn is the go-to man in any situation and over the years, has developed an incredible knack to talk on the phone and to someone in real life at the same time. In simple terms, you could say he is the master of multitasking.
Born and bred in Brisbane, Glenn enjoys working in a team environment and manages the team with ease and professionalism. Glenn is extremely passionate about creating awesome customer experiences and developing innovative solutions within Suncoast Fresh. Glenn loves relaxing and watching the rugby league in his spare time and is a mad South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter.
Brendan AbelProduce Expert/Buyer
Brendan lives and breathes the fresh produce industry and has been a part of it for 14 years. Early on in his career, he studied Food Technology and then travelled around Australia working in various roles at pack shed and farms. After 10 years in the Brisbane Markets, he works alongside Graeme and Mick on the purchasing side of the business as a Produce Expert and Buyer. He spends his spare time with his family and likes to get out and about for an odd round of golf.
Sarah StrathernProjects & Innovations Manager
Sarah joined the Suncoast Fresh team at the start of 2020 when she decided to relocate from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast for a seaside change. Sarah works proximately within the Coolum, Sunshine Coast office. However, she travels between the coast and Brisbane to manage several ongoing projects across the entire business.
Sarah has worked within the fresh produce industry for over five years and has always had a keen interest in the operational aspect of the business. She came on board to manage the design and rollout of our very first online ordering app, which launched over a year ago.
Sarah works closely with the management team to focus on key challenges within the business. In addition, she works on developing new solutions through technical innovation to improve existing processes, products and services.
You'll most likely catch Sarah at the gym, on her bike, or at the beach outside of work. She spends a lot of time surrounded by family and friends whilst enjoying the simple things in life. Sarah likes keeping active and is a big advocate for a healthy work-life balance. She is one of the smiling faces around the workplace and is always up for a great time.
Stephen FodenSunshine Coast Account Manager
Stephen has been a part of the Suncoast Fresh team for over seven years and counting! Stephen is an extremely hard worker and moved up through the company, acquiring various roles. Originally, Stephen started as a driver and worked his way up to 2IC Shed Manager, a Sunshine Coast Account Manager and now, Senior Sales Manager.
Growing up on a 100-acre farm and previously practising as a Chef, Stephen has an extensive understanding of the food and beverage industry. Stephen is passionate about connecting Chefs with local produce and leading the Suncoast Account Managers' team with these same ethos. He is an honoured father to his two girls Sophie and Jade and enjoys
hanging out with his family at the beach in his spare time. He also loves football, horse racing and golf.
Peter BrownSunshine Coast Account Manager
Peter has worked in kitchens since the young age of 15 and even then had a huge passion for quality produce and great food, so the natural progression was to become a Chef. Over his career, Peter has worked in various roles within numerous establishments including five- star hotels, fine dining restaurants, cafes and clubs, and he won several awards.
As Account Manager for Suncoast Fresh, Peter aims to educate Chefs, business owners and those alike, of the importance of fresh, quality produce, illustrating how much it can enhance and change the outcome of the dish.
In his private time, Peter loves spending time with his family and friends and has even built his own wood-fired pizza oven for entertaining at home. Sport is another favourite pastime for Peter, playing football (soccer) twice a week and golf regularly.
Darren WattersToowoomba Account Manager
Darren is the Toowoomba Account Manager. He is an energetic and passionate family man, a proud father to Aoifé and partner to Susie. His greatest joys in life come from food. As chef of 16 years, he loves entertaining for friends and family. When he's not in the kitchen, you'll find him on the golf course as he's loved the game from the age of five.
His extended family comes from Northern Ireland, so he has been lucky enough to travel there many times, making travel another great joy. Darren is very proud to be part of the Suncoast Fresh family. "Being surrounded by equally passionate people and learning about fresh produce has been an incredible experience, and I consider myself a lucky man." He says.
Rachel HughesBrisbane Account Manager
Rachel looks at beautiful ingredients the way most women look at expensive handbags. Fresh and delicious food is what makes her smile. She has worked in various front of house hospitality roles, some which include The Merivale and Solotel groups in Sydney and most recently Arc Dining.
If her accent doesn't give it away, Rachel is from Southern California but made Australia home in 2014. Here in Queensland, she considers herself lucky to live in a paradise of sunshine, pristine beaches and stunning produce. Besides spending much of her free time on home cooking projects, Rachel also enjoys DJ'ing and has even had her own radio show in the US. Oh, and along the way, she picked up a Master's Degree in Molecular Genetics! She, and we quote, is honoured to be a part of the Suncoast Fresh family and is a true strength to the team.
James BerkingGold Coast Account Manager
James was a keen follower of our Instagram before joining the team. He learned the ropes of the business from the ground up, starting as a Driver, Picker/Packer and now Account Manager. James is a true joy to have around with his positive energy, regular puns and constant banter. James previously worked in hospitality for seven years across all flavours of bars, pubs, clubs, hotels, dives and was recently awarded Brisbane's Best Bartended by the Courier Mail! This previous experience has given him an in-depth understanding of the food and beverage industry, and he successfully filters this knowledge into his everyday craft here at Suncoast. James looks after the Gold Coast division with ease, and nothing is ever too hard! Outside of work, he loves a few Whiskey's, cooking at home, film and travel.