Continuing on with my Everyday Legend series is the beautiful Celine, AKA The Frog Lady.
I chatted to Celine while she was preparing her FROG boxes for the weekly pack. Not a box of frogs. FROG stands for Fraser Region Organic Goodness, and trust me, it’s better than good.
Each week, Celine supplies 70-80 boxes of fresh organic fruit and vegetables for local families. After receiving everyone’s orders, Celine then sources the freshest produce available, which is then delivered and packed the same day.
She was pretty quick to reply when I asked her why she does what she does.
“For my family. FROG means that I’m able to feed them good food.” She then added, “FROG helps heaps of people. It allows people to get their veggies at a really good price, keeping the quality up and making it accessible in a really small town.”
When asked how she started with FROG, Celine explained, “I started as a volunteer, helping to pack boxes with my yoga teacher. She was just running it for free as a little co-op. She didn’t want to grow it any bigger than the small group of families we had, but I was so passionate about it that I kept spreading the word and bringing new customers in. I was just so excited about it that I wanted more people to have access to the service.”
At the same time, Celine was looking for something more to do with her time. As a young mum, she wanted to do something meaningful but still have time for her family. She took over the running of FROG with a friend, but was later left to run it on her own.
“That was a bit daunting, but then I realised that I could have more control and could really make it fun. That’s when I got the website set up. My dad’s such great support for me. He’s the computer whizz of the family so he really set up our systems and processes. He was retired so it gave him something to sink his teeth into.”
Celine’s mum also works in the business, helping to pack the boxes every Wednesday, along with her other loyal packers, many with young children themselves. “It’s so nice to give other young mums the opportunity I had – to be able to work but still have time for family.”
Having such a great team on board means that FROG can pack orders within hours of receiving the produce to ensure freshness. “A lot of it has just been picked”, said Celine. “We have the most amazing local growers.”
“Julie supplies our micro greens and lettuce mixes from her aquaponics farm. Fish supply the nutrients the plants need so there’s no need for fertilisers. Also, it’s all grown in greenhouses, which means no bugs and no need to spray.”
“Ross supplies a lot of the herbs, leafy greens, radishes and anything else he’s got going. He’s amazing! I think he turns 80 this year. He uses his whole backyard to grow produce for FROG. Everything’s grown above ground so he can guarantee there’s no chemicals in the soil.”
“Then there’s our local egg supplier, Nick and Amanda from Brother Brother Organics. They’re a small family business and their premium pasture-raised eggs are fantastic. I went for a visit out there a couple of weeks ago and no wonder their eggs are so good. I’ve never seen a happier bunch of hens!”
Things haven’t been all rosy for Celine and FROG. “It’s certainly had a few ups and downs. Sometimes I’ve felt like the council haven’t been very supportive and have given me a hard time here and there.”
“Also, seasonal fluctuations are hard to deal with. Sometimes our farmers are battling weather conditions and we have to take it as it comes. Transport can be an issue too and have caused a few hiccups….but when it’s good, it’s really good.”
“I’ve never been in it to actually make money. It’s the sort of business that seems to pay for itself but when orders drop off and I’m only breaking even, it’s a bit disheartening. I’ve been so lucky to have really loyal, regular customers that keep things ticking over and give me the reason to keep plugging away at it week after week.”
So, back to the ‘why’.
“The driving force is my family – being able to eat as healthily as we do. Also, when I think about stopping, I realise that there’s so many people in the community that rely on me.”
“Whenever I’ve been doing it a bit tough, I get so much support and encouragement from the community that I realise that I really am making a difference.”
Yes, Celine, you certainly are…and that is why you are definitely an Everyday Legend.
By the way, if you’re lucky enough to live on the beautiful Fraser Coast, check out Celine’s website HERE and put an order in for your own box of goodness.
PS To learn more about my own ‘why’, read here: WHEN PASSION TRUMPS FEAR – WHY I DO WHAT I DO