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About The Thorny Fruit Co

About Your Concierge Manager

hi, I'm Zona - your Concierge Manager and Founder of The Thorny Fruit Co. I'm a mum of two girls, a wife to a Sydney artist geek; I am an incurable foodie, and a professional digital marketer.

My penchant for being resourceful has become a mad pursuit by accident. My previous career background in the film & TV industry has instilled in me a sense of curiosity and a go-getter attitude that anything is possible. So when someone says to me, "I can't find petai in Sydney!" I take that challenge head-on... 

Born and bred in Malaysia until my late 20s, I migrated to Australia in 2007. It took me almost a decade before I could finally call Sydney home. Most of that attributed to being able to experience the "taste of my childhood" - food, flavours and reliving memories.

With my heritage being Malaysian with Thai Peranakan, Filipino with Spanish blood, I'm always hungry to learn about new cultures, the fusion... evolution and experiences through food.

Why The Thorny Fruit Co?

It began with Durians - Australian grown durians, specifically. The stinky, infamous thorny fruit is the inspiration for my new exotic fruit & Asian vegetables concierge business.

In November 2018, I discovered Australian-grown durians and realised that there were distinct varieties available at the Cabramatta grocers, but were not distinctly labelled.

So I did a bit of digging and got in touch with the grower, Tropical Primary Products. The son of the TPP farmers, Han Shiong Siah, shared with me how to distinguish their premium HEW1 durians from their mix variety.

Soon, I found herself going direct to the Sydney Markets' wholesale agent to buy almost 500kg of HEW1 durians for enthusiastic members of a local Facebook group.

This further spiralled into fulfilling the demand of more exotic fruits such as the pomelo, rambutan, mangosteen and cempedak; Asian vegetables like the yam bean, winged angle beans (kacang botol) and stink beans (petai).

Within three months, I found myself a business opportunity while being mentored by TPP's Han Shiong. I found a niche in the market mainly among the Southeast Asian migrants from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines who live in Sydney.

Exotic produce is seasonal, and were often available only in certain suburbs across the Sydney region. Hunting after them was almost as rare as a Malayan Tiger.

And thus, The Thorny Fruit Co was born.

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