Queenslanders warm to ‘strawesome’ winter strawberries

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Queenslanders warm to ‘strawesome’ winter strawberries

Queensland strawberry growers are set to serve up a ‘strawesome’ winter with the Palaszczuk Government today launching Queensland’s winter strawberry season on the Sunshine Coast.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Queensland’s contribution to winter production was significant with locally grown strawberries renowned for their size, colour and juicy flavour.

“Queensland strawberry growers produce up to 30,000 tonnes or up to 60 million punnets of fruit per season, which is about 40 percent of Australia’s annual strawberry production,” Mr Furner said.

“Wamuran is at the heart of winter strawberry production with delicious varieties including Red Rhapsody, Suncoast Delight and Parisienne Kiss grown from Bundaberg to the Gold Coast.

“These sweet and nutritious strawberries can be used in winter warmers such as crumbles, a strawberry version of banana bread and on pancakes with syrup; traditional favourites like strawberries and cream, in smoothies or even as a tasty addition to salsas.”

Mr Furner said Queensland strawberries made an important contribution to the state’s economy and the launch of the winter season was the perfect reminder for families to add strawberries to the weekly shopping list now.

“Research shows that strawberries are bought more frequently than any other fruit except apples and bananas,” Mr Furner said.

“Already 800,000 punnets of strawberries leave Queensland farms each week on average, but if just five per cent of families bought just two more punnets of strawberries from now until the end of September, an extra 6.3 million punnets of strawberries would be sold.

“This simple, practical support would be a welcome boost for Queensland’s almost 100 strawberry growers who employ more than 8000 people on a seasonal basis.”

President of the Queensland Strawberry Growers’ Association and a proud strawberry farmer in Elimbah, Luigi Coco said he was optimistic about the availability and quality of the fresh strawberries to come this season.

“After a difficult start with drought-affected strawberry nursery plants, the current warm sunny days are helping the young plants to get established and start to produce their wonderful balls of winter sunshine,” Mr Coco said.

“The late start to the season has meant that strawberries have been slightly scarce for the last few weeks.

“But, as our growers start to pick their first harvests, I urge Queenslanders to get out and start to buy strawberries now as some of the freshest, juiciest berries can be had in June and July.”

Mr Furner said the launch of the winter strawberry winter season built on the Palaszczuk Government’s proud support for the state’s strawberry growers.

“Since September 2018, the Government has partnered with the Queensland Strawberry Growers’ Association and provided $1 million in funding to boost the strawberry industry and help farmers,” Mr Furner said.

“We will continue to support our strawberry producers through the #eatqld campaign and at events such as those planned for July and August this year at the Sandstone Point Hotel and the Bite Markets in Morayfield.

“The government is committed to protecting and growing the Queensland strawberry industry’s worldwide reputation for safe and delicious berries.

“When you buy Queensland strawberries and support Queensland farmers, you are directly supporting more Queensland jobs – more jobs in a stronger Queensland economy.”