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Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find a range of questions relating to:

If you can't find the answer to your question, speak to us on Skype, give us a call on 03 5367 0606, or send us an email. We'd be happy to help!

 

 

Our Farm

 

What's in season on the farm?

We grow a wide range of produce right throughout the year. Have a look at the Our Farm section of our website, which has an up-to-date list of what we're currently harvesting on the farm, and also what's coming up over the next few months!

 

Can we visit the farm?

Of course - Our Farm is located just behind Our Shop. If you're coming from Melbourne, travel along the Western Highway and take the first Bacchus Marsh exit towards the Bacchus Marsh township (approximately 53.4kms from the CBD). You'll then travel through the Lerderderg flats - some of the most fertile market gardening country in Australia! Follow the tree-lined Avenue of Honour all the way to Our Shop (located approximately 4.1kms from the Bacchus Marsh turn-off) on the right hand side.

Ask for Sam, he'd be happy to take you out to the farm to see how we grow our farm fresh produce. Just make sure you bring your gumboots!

 

Is your farm produce organic?

We're not certified organic, but we do grow all of our produce using old-style farming practices; techniques that have been passed down over the course of the last 80 years (through four generations of farming)! We've taken the farming practices we learnt on the valleys of the Mediterranean, and adapted them to the Australian environment.

We think our results speak for themselves - high quality, crispy, fresh and tasty produce; with individual character and multi-dimensional flavour. Absolutely delicious fruit & veg!

 

What environmental initiatives have you put in place?

Horticultural farming in south-eastern Australia has undergone fundamental change over the last 15 years. Significant drought has been a key driver in exploring more efficient and environmental farming practices.

We have been instrumental in developing initiatives to combat the effects of drought and improve our environmental footprint. These have included converting a majority of our farm to highly efficient drip irrigation systems (we've managed to save about 55% of our water usage through this mechanism!) We've also been recently exploring highly innovative hydroponics systems to grow some of our produce (our systems are modelled on those we learnt about from the Middle East)!

 

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Our Shop

 

What's the story behind The Fruits of Life?

The history of our shop dates back to 1988. Belinda Dellios, with a desire to work more closely with her husband Sam (a third generation horticultural farmer from Bacchus Marsh), decided to open a farm-direct retail outlet, selling produce direct from the farm.
 
There was an old tin shed just down the way; it was surrounded by crops of peaches, nectarines, apricots, broccoli, cauliflower, and tomatoes; and it was picturesquely located under the historic elms of the Avenue of Honour.
 
Sam went to work on converting the old tin shed into a retail shop, and ever since then, Sam and Belinda have worked together to develop The Fruits of Life, now a multi award-winning gourmet produce retailer.

Belinda runs the shop, sourcing products from our network of artesian Australian suppliers. You'll find a selection of high-quality jams, old-style chutneys, relish, gourmet cheeses and small goods, bakery, nuts, honey, pasta and herbs.
 
Sam operates the farm with his brother Tom. They grow produce exclusively for the shop and our farm-to-your-door deliveries. With four generations of horticultural experience - we've learnt a few things about how to grow high-quality produce!
 
The Fruits of Life opened Oxygen Café in 2004. Oxygen Café is located within the shop, and is the perfect place to unwind amongst the historic elms of the Avenue. Come in and enjoy a quiet brunch, quick lunch or delightful afternoon snack. We make our own lasagnas, quiches, scones, pies, soups, smoothies and juices!

 

Where is the shop?

Our Shop is located on the picturesque Avenue of Honour, in Bacchus Marsh. If you're coming from Melbourne, travel along the Western Highway and take the first Bacchus Marsh exit towards the Bacchus Marsh township (approximately 53.4kms from the CBD). You'll then traverse through the Lerderderg flats - some of the most fertile market gardening country in Australia. Follow the tree-lined Avenue of Honour all the way to Our Shop (located approximately 4.1kms from the Bacchus Marsh turn-off, on the right hand side).

 

Are all the items you stock in the online shop in your shop?

Everything we sell in our online shop can be found in our Shop.

Not everything we stock in Our Shop is sold online. In creating our online shop, we have combined a range of our best-sellers, products that have been requested by customers, and products that we simply just love to sell. We hope that you enjoy the range!

If you see something from our Shop that you can't find online, please do give us a call, we can arrange for it to be included in your delivery at our standard price.

 

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Online Shopping

 

The first step - find out if we deliver to your area

The first thing we need to do is find out is whether we deliver to your area. We are always expanding our delivery area, however we are concentrating our initial deliveries on specially selected areas around Melbourne. Go to the Home page and type your postcode into the When are we in your area? field. This will let you know whether or not we are currently delivering in your area.

If we are delivering to your area, you can find out which day we deliver, and go on to peruse our delicious catalogue!

If we are not currently delivering to your area, please give us a call on 03 5367 0606, speak to us on Skype, or send us an email, and we will try our best to accommodate. Sometimes we can arrange deliveries if the order size is large enough, or if we can find other customers around your area that are interested in coming onboard with us. Give us a call and we can talk through the options.

 

How do I sign up as a member?

There are two ways that you can sign up:

  • Sign up before you shop: Click on the Join now button on the homepage (located just under the Username and Password box in the top right hand corner). You'll then be asked to pop in a few details (your name, email address, phone number, delivery address, delivery instructions etc);
  • Sign up after you shop: Once you've selected everything you would like from our shopping catalogue and proceeded to checkout, you will be prompted to sign up as a Fruits of Life member.


By signing up as a Fruits of Life Member, you will receive a number of benefits, which include:

  • you won't have to retype your details every time you shop (making your shop quicker and easier); and
  • you will be entitled to our exclusive member-only promotions and discounts.

 

Do I have to join up as a member?

If you would like to try our services without signing up as a member, you are of course most welcome. When you go through to the checkout, just click on the ‘proceed' button, which will allow you to proceed without becoming a member.

 

How do I place an order?

Browse through our enormous catalogue. You'll find a huge range of gourmet produce, delicious chutneys, herbs, nuts, spices, sauces and more!

You can click on the product to find out a little more about it (such as information about how we make sure we supply top quality products, where we source the products from, nutritional and seasonal information about the products).

Then enter in the number of units you would like (most items are sold on a per unit basis), and click the ‘+' button, which will add the number of units to your basket.

You can have a look at the contents of your shopping basket at any time - just click on the link to Your Shopping Basket, which will bring up an itemised list of everything in your shopping basket. You can also remove and amend items on the shopping basket page.

Once you've selected everything you would like, you can then click on the ‘Checkout' button. If you haven't logged in yet, you will be prompted to log in by entering your email address and password. If you haven't joined up as a member yet, you can sign up at this point too. The information we collect will help us deliver your order to you. We always treat your details with the utmost of respect and privacy - we take privacy concerns very seriously; you can find out more about this by viewing our Privacy Policy.

You will then need to enter the payment details. We accept all major credit cards (Mastercard and Visa). We cannot accept payment by Diner's club, American Express, cash or cheque.

Once the order is processed, all you have to do is make sure there's room in the fridge!

 

Will you contact me if there are any problems?

Of course - if there is any issue that may affect your delivery, we will get in touch with you to discuss. As an example, we will contact you if a product that you have ordered has become unavailable, or if we need additional delivery instructions.

We will not contact you about our promotions and discounts unless you specifically consent to this sort of material being sent to you (you can opt out at any time).

 

Why do you put such an emphasis on sourcing product from your farm?

We think that by growing the produce ourselves, we can give a little extra. From planting through to harvest, we invest our own hard work and expertise into tending and cultivating our crops.

We think our results speak for themselves - individual, high quality, gourmet produce; grown with over 80 years of horticultural experience.

The other benefit of sourcing from our farm is that it allows us to harvest and deliver to your door immediately - this means you get fresh produce with low food mileage, and minimal (if any) controlled atmosphere storage. It's the next best thing to having a veggie patch in your backyard!

 

Where does each product in my box come from?

We can always let you know what products come from our farm. Have a look at the Our Farm section of our website, which outlines what we're currently harvesting, and what's coming up. Your weekly newsletter (included with your box) will also have details about what produce is currently being harvested from our farm.

In relation to other products, we often source the same item from a number of growers in any given week. This allows us to match supply with demand, and makes sure that we are always delivering high quality product. Each product is generally sourced from a region, have a look at the description for the product you are interested in to find out more.

When sourcing produce, we try to follow a simple rule - the more locally produced the product, the better it is. It's a rule that means there is a reduced food mileage attached to the product, and that you get fresher, healthier produce.

In line with these aims, we've designed the Farm Fresh box (packed with produce only from our farm) and the Victoria's Best box (which contains only Victorian products).

 

What's the difference between one of your boxes and one I put together myself?

We've designed a range of great boxes that we put together each week. They include our very own Farm Fresh box (packed full of produce only from our farm), the Victoria's Best box (which contains a range of high quality in-season Victorian products), the Deluxe Box (designed for those with a gourmet palette) and the Box Office (to share with your friends around the office).

The benefit of choosing these boxes is that they are expertly designed each week to create meals that match the seasons. That means we can continually provide a whole range of fantastic produce that is in-season and delicious, right throughout the year! We also don't charge the packing fee for these boxes, which is a nice little saver!

 

How can I find out what's in my box each week?

Try visiting the product page for the box. These are updated each week with what will be included in the box. If you have any additional questions, make sure you speak to us on Skype, or call us on 03 5367 0606.

 

Why do you use plastic for some packaging?

We always try to minimise the amount of plastic that we use. However, sometimes the use of plastic is necessary to protect the produce. For example, blueberries and strawberries would get bruised if we didn't supply them in a punnet. Other times, the produce aggregates best if they are in a plastic bag (like beans).

 

I'm having troubles placing an order. What should I do?

If for some reason you're unable to place an order through our website, please do give us a call on 03 5367 0606, send us an email, or speak to us on Skype - one of our customer service assistants would be happy to help!

 

I can't find the product I'm looking for. What should I do?

Try using the search function at the top right of the screen. Keep the search general to bring up the largest range of products that may match what you're looking for.

If you're still having troubles, then please give us a call on 03 5367 0606, send us an email, or speak to us on Skype. It may be that we are out of stock, or that we stock the product in our shop but it's not part of our online selection. Do give us a call, we can always put a call in to one of our artesian suppliers and see if we can source it for you!

 

I want to know more about a product. What should I do?

Have a look at the product descriptions for each product - they provide a fair bit of detail about where the products are sourced from, what you can use them for, how to store them, and their nutrient detail. If you want to know a little more (for example, how you can use the product in different meals, or additional health information), then do give us a call or speak to us on Skype - we'd be happy to help!

 

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Can I place a phone order?

Of course - please call us on 03 5367 0606, and a member of our sales team will be happy to assist. We will process your order through your credit card.

 

Can I email through an order?

We would prefer it if you placed an online order through our shopping cart, or if you gave us a call to place a phone order. It just increases the security of the transaction.

 

Can I fax through an order?

We would prefer it if you placed an online order through our shopping cart, or if you gave us a call to place a phone order.

 

Do you have a minimum order amount?

Yes - we have a minimum order amount is $30.00 (other than for our pre-made Boxes, such as the Everyday Living box for two, which sometimes drops below this amount). Please give us a call if your order is under this amount, we are always willing to discuss orders below that amount if you are looking to become a longer term customer.

 

What is the latest time that I can place an order?

The latest time that you can place an order is 5pm on Thursday.

 

Can I change my order once I've placed it?

Of course - just give us a call and we will do our best to accommodate. Make sure you provide us with the unique order number, so that we can identify your order (you'll find your order number on your tax receipt).

We usually start putting your order together on the day before we deliver, so we can only take amendments before 1pm on the day before your delivery is scheduled.

If we do amend your order, we will provide a credit card refund or debit as required, or fix up the difference in your next order. We don't store your credit card details, so please have this handy when you call.

Note that any amendment needs to result in the order remaining above our minimum order requirement of $30.00.

 

Can I cancel my order once I've placed it?

If you need to cancel your order, please give us a call - we will do our best to accommodate.

We usually start putting orders together the day before we deliver, so any cancellation requests received prior to 1pm on the day before your scheduled delivery will incur a cancellation fee of $5.00. This is to cover the costs we have to pay to the bank for processing the initial payment, and refunding the amount back to your credit card.

If you need to cancel your order after this time, we will charge a cancellation fee of $20.00. This is because it is quite likely that we have already packed your box and it may be ready to go by that time.

Remember that a lot of our produce comes direct from our farm, so it will usually last about two weeks longer than similar produce that you get from the supermarket, or a standard greengrocer. Also, if you're not going to be home, we can leave it with a neighbour or family member close by, if that is suitable.

If you do decide to cancel your order, customer feedback is very important to us, so please let us know why you have decided to cancel your order - any feedback will help us to continually improve our service.

 

Are the kilogram quantities listed the exact amount that I will get?

We try to match up produce sizes to the kilogram quantities as best we can. Due to the inherent variability of nature (and therefore the produce), this is sometimes a little bit of a jigsaw puzzle, but we try our best to get it right!

 

Can I buy a different quantity of a product than what's on the website?

We selected quantities of items (for example 500g of Granny Smiths) as these are the sorts of quantities (or multiples thereof) that our shop customers usually buy in. However, we do realise that this is a generalisation, and everybody has their own individual needs. If you can't make up your required amount by multiplying the quantity amount, then please do give us a call and we'll see if we can accommodate.

 

How do your prices compare to supermarkets and greengrocers?

We supply a range of our produce direct from our farm. That means you are dealing directly with the farmer, and there's no more middleman or supermarket bully to deal with. So even though our farm produce tastes better, is fresher and is healthier, it's also usually cheaper!

In relation to our other stock, we've been in the gourmet produce retailing business for near over twenty years now. We think that's a track record that speaks for itself - we supply quality produce and quality service; always at a very competitive price.

 

Are the prices in your shop and on the online shop the same?

The prices in our online shop and our retail outlet are the same.

 

How can I change my account details?

You can change your account details by logging onto your account, and then clicking on ‘Update Account.' You will find this on the top left corner of the home screen. This will allow you to change any personal details that you have provided to us.

 

How can I change my delivery address?

You can change your address by logging onto your account, and then clicking on ‘Update Account.' You will find this on the top left corner of the home screen. This will allow you to change any personal details that you have provided us, including your address.

Note that if you change your address the day before your order is due, please do give us a call to let us know. It will help us to make sure that your delivery is delivered to your new address!

 

How can I change my password?

You can change your password by logging onto your account, and then clicking on the ‘Your Details.' You will find this on the top left corner of the home screen. Once on you are on this page, click on the ‘Change my password' button, which will take you to the password update page.

 

What happens with my credit card details?

For security reasons, we never store credit card details on our system. Therefore, you will need to enter your credit card details each time you put in an order. All payments are verified and processed through our accredited third party credit card verification service, Direct One.

 

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Deliveries

 

Do I have to be home to receive my delivery?

It doesn't matter if you're not home when we deliver. We will leave your box in the area that you specify in your delivery instructions. Good locations to specify include outside your front door (we try to deliver early in the morning - so leaving your order near your front door is usually quick, safe and easy), under a tree, or at the end of your driveway.

If you are concerned about leaving your produce out in the open, we could arrange to pick up a key to your garage or communal entrance hall, and leave your delivery in there. If you're not sure where to specify, give us a ring and we can talk you through some solutions that other customers are using.

If you don't specify any special delivery instructions, we will leave your box in location that is safe from the sun, any damaging rain, and of course, away from any thieving hands. If we can't find a suitable location to deliver your box, we will give you a call to discuss.

 

I have nowhere that you can place my delivery. What should I do?

Do give us a call or speak to us on Skype to discuss - there's almost always a solution to this old chestnut! If leaving it outside your front door is not an option (for example, because you live on a busy street, or because you live in an apartment block), we can put it in your garage, or arrange to pick up a key and leave your delivery in a garage or communal entrance hall. Otherwise, we could try some more innovative solutions, like leaving it under an upturned box, with your neighbour, or at your local corner store.

 

When will my delivery arrive?

On your day of delivery, we will usually deliver during the early hours of the morning - it means that you get to wake up to a fresh box of gourmet produce, our drivers don't have fight the early morning rush (better for the environment), and we can get more deliveries done in a shorter amount of time. Chances are you will still be asleep when your delivery arrives - it's kind of like big kid's Santa Claus!

If we're waiting for some products to be harvested from the farm, or if there's some other reason why our delivery trucks can't get away at the crack of dawn, you may receive your delivery during the day (usually in the morning). We will leave your delivery in the location that you've specified, or if you haven't specified anywhere, we will make sure we leave it in a safe place, and let you know where that is.

 

Can I get my box delivered somewhere else (to work, to a friend's house etc)?

Definitely - just enter the instructions into the delivery instructions area when you checkout your order. Delivery must still be within the delivery area.

 

Why can't I pick my delivery day and time?

We try to deliver to similar areas at similar times - it means that we can do more deliveries in a day, which makes our operations much more environmentally responsible, and keeps the cost of our service down.

 

How are the goods transported?

We have a super speedy refrigerated delivery truck, which we use to zip around the suburbs of Melbourne. All produce is stored at around 4oC in the refrigerated truck, whilst it is transported. So even on Melbourne's sweltering 40oC summer days, we can still deliver our farm fresh produce, directly from our farm.

 

Why don't you deliver to my area?

We've just launched our online Farm-to-your-Door delivery service, and we've chosen to concentrate our initial deliveries in a selected area. We are certainly looking to expand quickly, so if we're not currently delivering to your area, but you're interested in receiving orders, please give do give us a call on 03 5367 0606, send us an email, or speak to us on Skype, and we will try our best to accommodate.

Sometimes we can arrange deliveries if the order size is large enough, or if we can find other customers around your area that are interested in coming on board with us. Give us a call and we can talk through the options.

 

Can I leave boxes out for collection?

Of course! We love getting our boxes back, and if you don't have another use for the box (for example, taking out the recycling), feel free to leave it where we will be delivering your next box. Our drivers will collect the box, and if suitable for reuse, we will do so.

 

I can't be home to collect my delivery. What should I do?

Not a problem - just enter in any delivery instructions into the delivery instructions part of the checkout.

If you've already checked out, call us to discuss amending your delivery instructions. Remember that a lot of our produce comes direct from our farm, so it will usually last about two weeks longer than similar produce that you get from the supermarket or a standard greengrocer. Also, if you're not going to be home, we can leave it with a neighbour or family member close by, if that is suitable.

 

I need to change my address. What should I do?

You can change your address by logging onto your account, and then clicking on ‘Update Account.' You will find this on the top left corner of the screen. This will allow you to change any personal details that you have provided us, including your address.

Note that if you change your address the day before your order is due, please do give us a call to let us know. It will help us to make sure that your delivery is delivered to your new address!

 

I haven't received my delivery. What should I do?

Give us a call to discuss - make sure you provide us the unique order number so we can track down your order (you'll find this on your tax receipt). It may be that we are waiting for something to be harvested from the farm, our driver is stuck in traffic, or our driver has left it somewhere so that the box is safe. If it has been stolen, we will usually credit your account and arrange safer delivery instructions for next time. In any case, give us a call to discuss.

 

I think I have received the wrong delivery. What should I do?

Oh no! Check the delivery against the delivery receipt and give us a call, we will arrange for your delivery to be redispatched as soon as we can - make sure you provide us the unique order number so we can track down your order (you'll find this on your tax receipt).

 

My delivery has not been left where it should be. What should I do?

In some cases, our drivers decide that, if left where the delivery instructions specify, the produce may get damaged, spoiled or stolen.

If your delivery is not where it should be, then do please give us a call - it may be hidden by our sneaky driver, or it may have not been delivered for safety reasons. In either case, we will make sure that you get your order delivered.

 

There's something missing from my box. What should I do?

It may be that we have had to make a last minute amendment - if so, we will attempt to replace the item with a suitable substitute (for example, Royal Gala apples for Pink Lady apples).

If the item is not there, please give us a call or get in touch via email, we will either include the item in next week's delivery, or credit your account accordingly.

 

Something in my box is of poor quality. What should I do?

We always work hard to make sure that we supply only the highest quality produce. If however a poor quality item has found its way into your box, then please do give us a call to discuss. We will either credit your account, or include a high quality item in your next delivery.

 

Do you have a delivery charge?

No! During our initial phase (delivering to Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Melton), we do not have a delivery charge for any of our deliveries. That means you get our farm fresh produce delivered to your door for no cost - pretty good value, we'd say!

When we start delivering to the more central suburbs of Melbourne, there will be a small delivery charge to cover the petrol and our delivery driver's time as he makes the early morning trek from our farm to your door!

 

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