THERE'S nothing quite like the smell and sight of fresh fruit and vegetables and there's no doubt watching fresh cos constantly washed in water is enough to make anyone's stomach rumble relentlessly.
For Elizabeth Armer and Leah Hudson it's something they get to experience quite regularly, working together to provide the Macleay Valley with their fortnightly fix of locally grown produce.
US2U is a business owned and run by Miss Hudson to deliver local produce boxes to the Macleay Valley people with all products sourced and purchased locally and delivered straight to your door.
"I purchase and deliver produce from six farms around the Macleay Valley, with boxes going to people within Crescent Head, Kempsey and South West Rocks," she told the Argus.
"My aunt started the initiative and I've continued it on and developed it into supporting as many local farmers as possible."
Mrs Armer is the property owner of Lettuce Land at Yarrahapinni and runs her own business known as Yarra Rocket Science that provides produce to local restaurants, along with retail and wholesale businesses.
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Her start in the Macleay Valley produce industry begun six years ago after originally living in Canberra and deciding to retire to the area.
"I've had the best time doing this, it's been really fun," she said.
"It's basically a seven day job as we're always picking, growing and preparing produce - everything gets picked up on the Thursdays except lettuce which is picked on a Friday morning with all deliveries done on the Friday too.
"We also ensure that everything is produced with organic principles to give the best possible product to the customer."
Mrs Armer says the US2U idea was a great way to support farmers because COVID meant people were unable to sell things and buying products had become more difficult for consumers.
The Lettuce Land property mainly grows vegetables such as cos lettuce, spinach, kale, beetroot, asian greens, basil and a whole range of herbs.
Whilst it's all smiles now with beautiful weather and a lush green landscape to pick from, Mrs Armer explained it hasn't always been sunshine and rainbows.
"The drought definitely affected our productivity, in January we ran out of water and it just became to expensive to buy water due to the demand," she said.
"We use a lot of water because of all the produce we have so when it rained all of February we were over the moon and started production up again."
With the drought problem now gone for the meantime, production has increased as businesses start again after COVID-19 disruptions and US2U continues to grow.
The Yarra Rocket Science business model had to change due to the increased production with Mrs Armer previously delivering to restaurants however chefs and cooks now have to go to the farm to pick up their products.
For Miss Hudson, the goals of US2U have always been very clear - with an emphasis on ensuring locals are supported for the work they do.
"The big thing is helping local farmers and pushing for everyone to support local," she said.
"When produce is so fresh and tasty it lasts a lot longer - I'm always trying to encourage people to cook with what's in season because that is the best way to help local farmers - particularly when competing with large retail chains."
When sourcing produce, Miss Hudson finds the farmers with the help of her aunt and Mrs Armer.
She also runs another business as a day-to-day job, keeping herself very busy.
The range of products she receives include the produce that exists on Lettuce Land as well as bananas, avocadoes, strawberries and other fruits from local growers along with tomatoes from Ricardoes Tomatoes.
A box will consist of whatever fruit and vegetables are in season with the aforementioned products as well as bok choy, lemons, strawberries, blueberries, passionfruit, radish, turnip bunches, chillis and snowpeas.
She says visiting the farmers is always a pleasant experience and there's always something new to be learnt.
"I really enjoy it, having a chat and meeting all the beautiful farmers puts a smile on my face and they all love what they're doing," she said.
"Recently, I learnt that if blueberries are hit with rain they'll go mouldy so I'm definitely learning on the job."
The boxes are delivered every fortnight with two options of a medium at $35 or large box at $45 with 53 boxes scheduled for the next delivery.
A group has also been set up from the US2U idea called 'What did U make?', allowing customers to post their recipes and gain inspiration from others.
Some of the meal ideas have included smashed avocado, tomato, onion on a cos lettuce wrap as well as a sandwich made with homemade beetroot dip, homemade basil pesto, tomato, lettuce and avocado on Turkish.
As for future plans, Miss Hudson just wants to keep it nice and simple for the time being.
"I'd hate for it to get to big and we lose the concept of what we're doing - so we'll just continue our current operations and see how things pan out," she said.