An entrepreneurial couple who found a way to export their unique local citrus to the world despite the odds has won the 2021 Scenic Rim Business Excellence Awards.
Ian and Margie Douglas of The Lime Caviar Company near Rathdowney won the Business of the Year, Regional Prosperity Award as well as the Excellence in Agriculture Award.
Ian and Margie have basically pioneered the growth of the finger lime industry globally, advocating for changes to fruit fly export rules so they could supply overseas demand.
They thought outside the box, becoming the world’s only producer of ‘Lime Caviar’, which is finger lime pearls extracted from their skins and packed and frozen in food safe containers.
From their rainforest property up a winding road at Running Creek they run their family farm and modern processing facility, supplying delighted customers locally and abroad with the ancient Australian fruit.
Judges of the 2021 awards praised Ian and Margie’s entrepreneurialism.
“The Lime Caviar Company has successfully marketed the product on their own and their export success is to be applauded, benefiting small growers all over Australia,” they wrote.
“Their approach to no waste in processes also demonstrates good sustainable practices. This is a business that the Scenic Rim can be very proud of.”
Ian and Margie recognised the support they had received locally.
“We’re incredibly humbled and proud to be part of the Scenic Rim,” said Ian.
“We thank Mayor Greg Christensen and his team, Trade and Investment Queensland and Austrade.”
Ian said the global effects of Covid had driven up air freight costs by more than 100 per cent and impacted demand from restaurant and hotel customers abroad.
“Having said that, we’ve been able during Covid to export to Denmark, to Dubai (the product is actually on the menu in the Australian pavilion at expo in Dubai) and a number of other countries including our mates across the ditch,” he said.
“I think the thing we’ve done is shown you young ones what you can do with a bit of age behind you. Margie was 80 this year and I’m 86 and we’ve got no plans to retire.”
Awards were also presented for:
Tourism and Accommodation (Tamborine Mountain Distillery)
Hospitality – Food and Dining (Scenic Rim Brewery)
Retail (My Country Escape)
Trades and Construction (Hobbs Building and Interiors)
Transport, Logistics, Manufacturing and Mining (Australian Lawn Concepts and RV Tanks Australia)
Professional and Community Services (Tamborine Mountain State School P&C Association)
Outstanding New Business (e360 Design)
Business with 20+ Staff (Binna Burra Lodge)
Trainee/Apprentice of the Year (Corrine Cause, Fit Up Fitness).