Beautiful strawberries need love, talent and good weather
Updated July 2017
You know Queensland strawberries are amazing, but do you know why they are so good?
Queensland strawberries are premium quality, sweet fruit grown under the best conditions by a community of unique and talented growers. The established and very successful industry has access to a wide range of varieties, enabling growers to adapt their crops to the availing growing conditions and climate.
According to ‘Queensland Strawberries’ Industry Development Officer, Jennifer Rowling, Australian’s are able to eat strawberries throughout winter thanks to Queensland’s ideal growing conditions.
“Mild, sunny winter days and cool nights is the perfect growing environment. You could say our Winter climate is ‘strawberry heaven’,” said Jennifer.
“The season generally starts around mid-May, with the harvest peak period from July to September. It is our Queensland growers who provide the nation with their winter supply of strawberries.”
Precision farming a true art form
While environmental conditions play a big role in strawberry quality, dedication to professional farming is essential. According to fresh produce marketing specialist, Mike Evans (Director of Fresh Partners - Queensland), a lot of work, talent and expense goes into producing the final product.
“Farmers put a great deal of time and effort into ground preparation by adding mulch and ploughing the earth to form neat, long raised beds. Many farmers will say that you can judge talent by how straight they can run their beds across the whole farm,” said Mike.
“Irrigation and planting are also time-consuming and quite intricate activities. Under the soil, irrigation tubing is run the full length of each bed, and then plastic is laid over the beds and tucked into the soil to help create a perfect growing environment. Holes are punched through the plastic and one runner (or every individual planting matter) is pushed into each hole.”
According to Mike, most commercial farms plant their runners annually, and larger entities harvest daily during peak season. Fruit is harvested by hand.
“And here’s a bit of history. It has been thought the name strawberry stems from the original practice of covering beds with straw to hold the shape of the bed and keep the berry up off the soil hence ‘Straw – Berry’,” said Mike.
Ensuring your fruit is always fresh
When it comes to our fresh-food vending, we have a team of fresh produce specialists who make sure only the best, and the freshest strawberries make their way to our machines. How do you check for quality when buying strawberries?
Jennifer says that strawberries should be nice and red, mostly unblemished and smell delicious.
“Always turn the punnet over to make sure there is no juice, damaged or mouldy fruit in the bottom of the punnet.”
The bulk of Australia’s winter strawberries are grown on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, while Stanthorpe, Queensland also produces strawberries during the warmer months. Beautiful strawberries are also grown in the Yarra Valley Victoria, the Adelaide Hills in South Australia and Wanneroo and Albany in Western Australia. New South Wales and Tasmania also have small numbers of quality, focused growers producing great fruit.
For more information:
Jennifer Rowling M: 0438 752 177
Queensland strawberries www.qldstrawberries.com.au
Mike Evans M: 0419 843 253
National strawberries www.aussiestrawberries.com.au
pictured is Sunshine Coast strawberry grower, Ray Daniels.