Jul 27

Digital Solutions Business Feature: Avon River Farmhouse

“I love the connection food brings to people… We cook meals you can share with others. Good old-fashioned country service. We like to look after people, and go that extra mile to do so.” - Prue Cliff, Founder of Avon River Farmhouse.

If you had to summarise Prue Cliff’s career-to-date, you certainly wouldn’t call it boring.

“After a career riding horses overseas, coming home, and working in the family aviation business… I worked my way up the ladder to become a commercial pilot, which led me on many flying adventures around the world,” she recalls.
“Then I married a third generation Dairy Farmer and completed my dual Diploma in Food Science & Technology, with a dream of one day adding to our quality milk with artisan dairy products.”
That day came in 2018, when Prue combined her broad skillset to provide homemade meals to her next door neighbours, sheep farmers and another family who owned a large vegetable farm.
“It quickly progressed and grew by word of mouth. We ran a trial test period just before COVID hit out of a regional kitchen and it was a huge success. We used locally-sourced produce and incorporated it into our meals cooking with the seasons,” Prue says.

“It was time to get serious, but I had to wait until COVID had died down as our little girl was learning at home and that was my role during that time - along with supporting my husband on the dairy farm.”

“We now operate out of a school kitchen. Parents are able to pick their freshly cooked meals up as they pick their kids up, and we deliver to the outlying areas at the end of the day."

“We have a fabulous team here; a qualified chef who has expanded his career into food photography, a very good friend who covers part of my business where I am short-staffed, and a recently retired nurse who is passionate about making good food. We’re about to expand this team as we are unable to keep up with demand.”
A country business to its core, Avon River Farmhouse goes the extra mile for its customers - delivering meals straight into fridges and ovens so that farming families have a hot meal waiting after a long working day.

“Our customers become part of the family. We know them, we have a chat with our older customers who are living by themselves, and we know how our younger families and their kids are going in the footy or netball teams.

“We cook meals you can share with others. Good old-fashioned country service. We like to look after people, and also understand the connection between farm to fork. Being married to a dairy farmer and having many friends in farming, I understand where our food comes from and the process it goes through to get to our plate. We ensure the story is told; farmers work hard to produce quality products in sometimes extreme conditions - whether financial or weather related.”

Prue loves running the business as she loves the connection food brings to people. She knows Avon River Farmhouse has ‘so much more left to do’ and is excited to see where she can take it.
To help her business be the best it can be, Prue joined the Digital Solutions - Australian Small Business Advisory Services program to help bolster her social media presence and digital proficiency.

Prue was drawn to the program by having ‘access to professionals across marketing, digital technology, cyber security and to gain the right information quickly and efficiently’.
“I love having access to webinars I can watch and learn from in my own time, usually late at night! It’s great to be networking and sharing ideas with other people to gain a different perspective or find an angle I didn’t see.”
Since joining the program, Prue has implemented improved cyber security measures, built a Google my Business Page and created a new website that’s set to launch within the next month.
Above all, she’s found the available expertise the most valuable.

“The accessibility to professionals that I normally would not have approached has been amazing. They are so supportive and willing to share their expertise with you! They are genuinely interested to see you succeed."

Would Prue recommend the Digital Solutions program to others?

“Definitely. When you are running and starting a small business you tend to wear many hats, you jump into any area of the business to cover employee shortages, train employees and problem solve on the run. The Digital Solutions program directs me quickly and efficiently to where I need improvement and how to go about doing it in the most efficient way.”

Avon River Farmhouse operates throughout Maffra to Briagolong, Victoria. If you’d like to learn more about the Digital Solutions program - see here.