Lynda Lister clearly remembers the moment her hubby burst into the room with a bright idea for a new Surf Coast business.
It was during the second COVID lockdown and the Torquay couple – who have a wealth of marketing and hospitality experience between them – had been mostly out of work for seven months due to the pandemic.
“My husband was watching the news one morning and saw there was a girl in Melbourne doing a lot of iso box deliveries and he basically came in and said ‘we’ve got to start doing picnic hampers in Torquay’,” she recalls.
“By lunchtime we had a business name registered and we’d started doing some research.
“In our initial findings we couldn’t find anyone down here who was doing exactly what we had thought of using only local produce.
“There’s lots of people doing grazing boards and we thought we would try to do something different.”
The Surfcoast Picnic Co was born and Lynda, together with husband Christian, started connecting with local suppliers around the region in a bid to create picnic hampers featuring quality local products.
“I think this year a lot of people are wanting
to support local business and shop in your own backyard and hampers seem to be an on-trend gift for that reason,” Lynda says.
“I read an article where they were calling 2020 the year of the picnic and I think 2021 will be the same.
“Everyone is catching up outdoors and, given what’s going on, that is probably going to keep going.”
Lynda says they were spoilt for choice when it came to finding quality local produce to include in their readymade picnic packs and hampers.
Mt Duneed Estate, Bells Brewing, Adelia Fine Foods, Zeally Bay Sourdough, Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and The Otway Kitchen are just a handful of the many local makers, bakers, producers and brewers already on board.
“Initially we reached out to a few people until we got going and growing,” Lynda says.
“But the more people I meet and chat to, they tell me about someone who sells something and I’m constantly finding new people and new ways to include people in what we are doing.”
The ready-made picnics come in a reusable cooler bag and all cutlery, plates, napkins and cups are recyclable.
“I also give people a little biodegradable garbage bag inside the picnic bag,” Lynda says.
The convenient picnic packs are ideal for all sorts of occasions including day trips, holiday home stays, engagement proposals, spring racing, birthdays or glamping trips.
Some of the first orders to come through were from Surf Coast locals who surprised loved ones in Melbourne with a picnic to brighten up their day during the latest lockdown.
The Surfcoast Picnic Co range has already expanded from picnics packs to gourmet hampers.
A holiday home starter kit – cheekily dubbed the “Social Distancing” hamper – contains nibbles for the first night of the stay and breakfast goodies for the following morning.
“We can have that delivered to someone’s holiday home on the day so when they arrive, they can simply unpack, unwind and immediately get into some food,” Lynda explains.
A delivery point can also be arranged for tourists on a day trip or anyone local wanting a special picnic on the coast.
Lynda says the business venture has been a silver lining during a strange year and they hope to play their part in promoting the region.
“My husband hadn’t worked for seven months and I just about hadn’t as well,” she says.
“But I guess when your mind is idle it can pave the way to be really creative.
“What we want to say to people is that it’s been a tough year so come down and treat yourself to something nice.
“Homemade and local always tastes better, after all.”
To find out more and place an order visit the website at surfcoastpicnic.com.au and follow on Instagram @surfcoastpicnic