Coffee trailer brings healthy options to truckies during harvest

Each year, a small rural Queensland town becomes a hub for truckies working the harvest, but unfortunately, access to fresh and healthy food options was difficult – until now.

The daughter of transport operators, Sarah Paton knows all too well of the challenges many truckies face when it comes to accessing healthy, quality food out on the road.

Her father Adrian Paton is a truck driver. For over 20 years, he and his wife Bridget Paton have been running Patons Transport and Logistics, based out of Jondaryan, Queensland, with a fleet of around a dozen trucks.

And it was Adrian who convinced Sarah to bring her coffee trailer to truckies. Though she’s usually based in Toowoomba, the Inglestone Hall became her base from October through to early December.

Sarah Paton purchased the coffee trailer in July 2021 and has continued to grow her catering business.

Located between Westmar and Meandarra, about five hours west of Brisbane, it was a perfect location to feed the hungry masses of truckies working hard at this year’s harvest – with ample truck parking on both sides of the road for easy access.

Sarah says her catering and coffee trailer business Graze Co. was “a Covid baby”.

“I had studied hotel management and was living and working in Melbourne. When the lockdowns hit, I quickly came back to Queensland. With the catering, I started out with little scone boxes I was delivering locally. Then I bought the coffee trailer in July 2021. A local café was selling it and it was a spontaneous purchase,” she explained.

And it was her father Adrian that gave her the idea of catering to truckies during harvest. “He said just come out at harvest so you can feed the truck drivers.”

When she made her harvest debut last year, it was an immediate hit. “They wanted us to come back this year but we did it with a different approach and promoted it before I went.”

Sarah would open the coffee trailer at 6am each day, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffees.

At breakfast time, a sit down meal of bacon and eggs was a hit, as was granola and yoghurt.

“Lunch was salad rolls, sandwiches and that sort of stuff. Then for dinner we’d have one option and send out a text so people could let us know if they were coming. As time went on, word spread and it expanded,” explained Sarah.

“We had a lot of the same people coming back every day, so got to know them really well. We would serve around 50-80 customers each day. The majority of them were truck drivers, but we also had contractors, caravanners and locals stopping by too.”

Sarah says she wanted to cater to truck drivers because as she discovered, many are quite health conscious but it can be difficult to find healthy options while out on the road.

Her truckie dad Adrian Paton inspired her to bring her healthy food options to truckies working the harvest.

“Many truckies are 50 and above and some have health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure and are generally concerned about their health and are looking for alternatives other than the classic hot-box,” she said.

“The closest town to us was Meandarra, which is about 30 minutes away. With the café being in the centre of town, it’s also difficult for trucks to park and stop there. That’s why I chose this location, because it’s easily accessible to truck drivers, regardless of which way they were coming.”

With her coffee trailer being a definite hit among truckies, Sarah is planning on returning to the same location at Inglestone Hall each year. “I think we’ve started something really good so I’m planning on heading back down next year when the harvest begins around October/November.”

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