Farmer calls time on 70-year home delivery service
THE sweet remnants of door-to-door grocer Roly Lennox's near 70-year delivery career are being carefully rationed from his kitchen fridge.
Mr Lennox, 86, treated himself to a full carton of muscat grapes when he made a final run from his Noosa hinterland farm to Brisbane's Rocklea Markets earlier this month.
Born in Cooroy, he has lived his entire life at the Ringtail Creek property, having bought it with brother Des from their parents.
He started weekly produce runs into Noosaville shortly after getting his licence at 17 to deliver fresh-picked beans and peas to customers' homes.
His family farm also produced cream which was supplied to butter factories in Cooroy and Pomona, until their closure.
They had no electricity to power fridges, which precluded them from producing milk.
The cream was collected three times a week.
"The older it (cream) was the better the butter,” Mr Lennox said.
He expanded his delivery service from just his own farm's produce by making fortnightly trips to Brisbane markets to collect what he wasn't growing.
They were held in Roma St when he started out.
It enabled him to offer fruit and other vegetables to residents in the Tewantin, Noosaville and Cooroibah areas.
He added different produce lines over the years like watermelons and honey from his own farm.
"At one time when I was at my peak I had 150 (customers).”
That was before major supermarkets were established in the centres.
"I would sell up to six (50kg) bags of potatoes every time.”
Customer numbers levelled out in recent years to about 60 or 70.
"Now if I sell a bit over half a bag I'm doing well.”
His service has enticed repeat business, with one buyer who started in 1951 still purchasing when he made his final delivery run earlier this month.
Mr Lennox said he stopped deliveries because his Rocklea Markets buyer's permit expired on March 3.
"I was getting a bit tired of it so I thought 'right, that'll be the end of it'.”
He said he would miss having his own supply of fresh fruit and vegetables.
"I tell my customers they are not the only ones going to miss out.”
He said he still had plenty to do looking after his farm, minding cattle and trying to stop the spread of weeds.
"I'm certainly not retired.”
His customers have also told him not become a stranger.
As for the grapes?
"There's still a few left.
"I'm rationing them out a bit.”