Sydney pair pick a Berry fine spot

When Carole Ruta looks outside her store to Berry's sprawling hills, green pastures and quiet streets, her former life as a Sydneysider seems thousands of miles away.

Ian Gray and Carole Ruta in their providore shop. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Ian Gray and Carole Ruta in their providore shop. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Mrs Ruta and her partner Ian Gray traded their city lifestyle for a quieter existence on the South Coast nearly three years ago and have absolutely no regrets about their big move.

"I just love the fresh air here and there is no noise, it's so different compared to Sydney," Mrs Ruta said.

"It's just a totally different way of life ... everyone in Sydney just looks miserable, they're all wearing black or brown clothes, there's no colour.

"Here, it's vibrant and there's a real sense of community ... everyone looks out for everyone else, it's lovely."

The pair are part of the growing "farm change" movement, which has seen dozens of families, retirees and couples frustrated with corporate life, swap their Sydney homes for a cottage in the country.

Mrs Ruta had spent nearly 20 years living in Mosman, operating a wine bar before starting a consultancy company, which worked with restaurants, hotels and the New Zealand wine industry.

Wanting to indulge her life-long passion for food, Mrs Ruta and Mr Gray started selling home-made preserves, jams and sauces at the Kiama and Berry markets and fell in love with the region.

When their South Coast Providores business started to really take off, the couple made the big decision to sell their Sydney home, move down south and open a store at the "boutique end" of Berry's main street.

"Ian was always really excited about doing this complete 180-degree spin on our lives and when the decision was finally made to move, we really didn't find it hard at all," Mrs Ruta said.

"Berry is such a beautiful little town with a really caring and sharing community ... you would just never find that in Sydney."

Fast forward a few years and the couple's weekend hobby has become a full-time job, forcing them into bigger premises as they attract more customers.

The move to Berry has also allowed them to use fresh produce from the area, which Mrs Ruta concedes they would never have had access to in the city.

"You just have so much room to grow things down here ... we work with several different suppliers to get really good, seasonal produce ... it's just great to be able to say we use beautiful, local produce," she said.


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