Strawberry farmers expect a berry good season

By Morgan McSmith and Elise Van Dorssen

As winter arrives, the cold months bring a sweet taste to the Coast.

The start of June brings a fresh strawberry season which is expected to be even better than the last.

The average season lasts from June until November, however, business partner of Strawberry Fields David Carmichael said if they have a good season the fields can be expected to stay open to the public until late December.

“Compared to last season we’re doing much better,” he said.

He said they could thank the wet season for the strong crop.

“The strawberries themselves don’t like water, the fruit does get damaged with rain,” he said.

“But the plants love the rain so it’s a kind of a catch-22 situation.

“If we get bits of slow steady rainfall we seem to see better results.”

The Sunshine Coast falls into one of the major strawberry producers, with Queensland supplying nearly 50 per cent of strawberries in all of Australia.

Covering over 600 hectares, there are approximately 150 strawberry growers throughout Queensland who produce between 6,000 and 15,000 tonnes of fruit per season.

The $269 million industry focuses primarily on the domestic sales as only about 5 per cent of produce is exported.

Fortunately for the Sunshine Coast, finding locally farmed berries will not be a problem this season.

The pick-your-own farms – Mcmartins Farm located in Bli Bli and Strawberry Fields located in Palmview – are now in full swing.

Mr Carmichael said the opening weekend at Strawberry Fields went very well.

“We were a little bit slow to start but had a very busy Sunday,” he said.

“Everyone loved their strawberries and everyone had a good time.”

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