Local focus brings international demand

Some things in life are just meant to be – that old adage certainly rings true for Hunter Valley based producers tar10.

After a friend suggested Melanie Collingwood-Boots take her homemade chutneys and jams to local markets in Newcastle, she and husband Harvey embarked on a whirlwind journey that would see a passion for preserves spark a growing empire of international note and a range of condiments that today line the shelves of many a fine deli. In 2007, Melanie and Harvey sold their successful fashion business to escape city life and retreat to a beautiful farm in the quaint village of Gresford in the picturesque Hunter Valley.

As an enthusiastic home cook, Melanie regularly made gluten and preservative free jams and chutneys, which she often passed on to friends and family. “A friend had said to me – Mel you’re such a good cook, why don’t you take your jams to the market and try selling them. I really wasn’t keen at first to be honest. But I did and it really did just snowball in quite a short space of time,” she says laughing.

Just one year later, she had secured a large distribution deal after a fortuitous market day and was beginning to grow a steady base of loyal clientele. Melanie went on to enter some of her products into the prestigious “Sydney Royal Fine Food Show” competing against some of Australia’s best-known producers, walking away with two out of three awards, followed by even more success in 2011 as she snagged five out of five awards. Buoyed by the early positive response and with an already strong business acumen, Melanie and Harvey began tar10, a twist on Melanie’s proud Scottish heritage and a play on the word tartan. The business began with 12 products, mainly jams and chutneys.

Today it offers 42, including balsamic vinegars, mayonnaise, dressings and marmalades. Now some nine years on and having endured the tragic loss of her beloved Harvey in 2016, Melanie with the support of her family and friends, continues to spend her days between the home based business and kitchen, food and wine events and tending to her beautiful gardens.

Her home houses the tar10 kitchen, a small warehouse and office as well as the vegetable gardens and citrus trees that contribute to many of the popular tar10 products. Her goods are available across all states of Australia and she even supplies to some areas of the Middle East and Asia, with three large distributors on board.
For more info: https://www.tar10.com.au/

Read more about Melanie’s story in the Spring issue of Hunter&Coastal Lifestyle Magazine. Available in news agencies or subscribe here and never miss an issue.
Story Lesley Horsburgh, photography courtesy of Melanie Collingwood-Boots