A sweet season for the Coast’s strawberry growers
THE strawberry season on the Sunshine Coast is looking fruitful, with growers just weeks away from picking their first commercial crops of the season.
Locals will also be happy to hear that the pick-your- own season at many farms, including McMartin's Strawberry Farm at Bli Bli and Strawberry Fields at Palmview, will officially open from May28.
Lillian McMartin, from McMartin's Strawberry Farm, said many smaller growers on the Coast had received their plants a couple of weeks late this year, meaning they were probably a couple of weeks behind in terms of commercial output.
But Ms McMartin said overall the season was looking promising and an early morning walk through the farm had already rewarded them with a few ripe fruit.
"You will probably find the bigger growers down towards Caboolture are on time, but most of the smaller growers, and there are a lot on the Sunshine Coast, all pretty much got their plants at the same time,"she said.
"But the plants have really taken off and are looking really good. We're happy with that side of it and hopeful for the season as long as the rain holds off while we are actually picking, because strawberries don't like rain."
Strawberry Fields farm manager Brendon Hoyle said local fruit shops were still sourcing the bulk of their strawberries from Stanthorpe and Victorian growers, but this would change by the middle of May.
"It's true that we have only just started picking and we are talking very small numbers… but we are only literally weeks away from picking the first commercial crop of size," Mr Hoyle said.
"We planted on time this season and by mid-May to the end of May we will start to see new-season fruit from the area making it through to market," he said.
Mr Hoyle said it had been a fairly dry start to the season which probably concerned some growers but the rain the Coast had received over the past week or so meant that the region's growers were now in a good position.
Eumundi Strawberries, at Strawberry Lane in Eumundi, also looks set to have a promising season, posting on Facebook last month that it had expanded the farm's number of fields and was "putting down some more plastic for more sweet strawberries".