Shelves jammed with cheap strawberries

BARGAIN-PRICED strawberries are filling supermarket shelves while a new Stanthorpe farm prepares for its first harvest.

Pinata Farms' new Granite Belt facility will allow its strawberries to go on sale year-round - a first for the Sunshine Coast-based company.

While strawberries are grown year-round in six states of Australia for national availability, Queensland strawberry production has traditionally been between June and October.

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"Our Wamuran (Sunshine Coast) farm will supply fruit throughout winter, while our Stanthorpe farm will produce spring and summer fruit until Wamuran production begins again next autumn," production manager Sean Riley said.

Pinata Farms strawberry production manager Sean Riley says the company’s Stanthorpe crop is on track for a strong first harvest.
Pinata Farms strawberry production manager Sean Riley says the company’s Stanthorpe crop is on track for a strong first harvest. Contributed

Mr Riley has overseen the planting of more than 457,000 strawberry plants since moving to Stanthorpe in February, with big plans to expand.

"In May next year, we'll be planting close to a million," Mr Riley said.

"We're hoping for a good season and plenty of pickers . . . we'll need around 70 or so this season."

The current cheap prices are chiefly driven by coastal producers with rain-

damaged crops - still fine for jams. Mr Riley said his Stanthorpe crop faced an opposite issue, with a dry winter pushing its harvest back a month.

The 10ha farm is expected to produce nearly two million punnets by May.

Got some great strawberry recipes? We would love to hear them. Send your favourites to chris.calcino@thechronicle.com.au.



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