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Strawberry lovers are cheering while growers are in a jam

Walk into a supermarket this weekend and what’s the first thing you will notice? Punnets upon punnets of strawberries selling for under $2!

These sweet prices have been caused by a spike in winter temperatures, with three straight days of 28 degrees in parts of Queensland, over the last weekend bringing strawberry fields to peak production.

In response supermarkets dropped their prices to as low as $1 per 250-gram punnet in NSW.

However this strawberry glut isn’t as great for growers as it is for consumers. Queensland strawberry grower, Mandy Shultz, posted video on social media this week, showing her despair in throwing away drum loads of strawberries that did not meet the retailers request for extra-large strawberries.

Posted by Amanda Schultz on Friday, August 17, 2018

“A lot of growers are feeling the pressure at this time of year, we’d be lucky at the moment to get between $3-4 a kilo,” Ms Shultz’s husband, Adrian Schulz, told ABC Rural.

We’re nearly at the point of cost production being greater than what we’re selling them for.

According to a Coles spokesperson, Australians consume an estimated 40 million kilograms of strawberries each year.

The peak season for strawberries runs from May to October with more than 150 Queensland growers supplying the majority of Australia with its strawberries.

Ms Schultz took the waste problem into her own hands by freezing and freeze-drying second-grade strawberries, saving more than 360 kilograms of fruit from going to waste each week. She plans to sell frozen fruit locally, with rallying support from her community.

Andrea Martinello

Andrea Martinello

Andrea is the Community & Engagement Officer at the National Farmers' Federation.

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