Do you have a question about our berries, who we are or how we farm? Browse our most frequently asked questions below

Strawberries

How many berries can one strawberry plant produce?
Strawberries can be prolific fruit. Depending on variety, some plants can produce up to 120 berries in a season! As they all ripen progressively, our pickers have to work through the crop several times to harvest.

How are strawberries pollinated?
During the strawberry growing phase, each plant sets dozens of pretty white flowers. To become fruit, these flowers have to be pollinated. Bees pollinate the crop naturally and our strawberry workers also aid the pollination process by gently ruffling foliage.

How do strawberries ripen?
Strawberries ripen on the tip first – because the tips face the sun first. Ripening then spreads down to the calyx (or green cap) over a couple of days. We wait until the berries are evenly coloured before picking. Our strawberries are harvested six to eight weeks after planting.

Do strawberries ripen after picking?
Strawberries are fully ripe when picked and do not ripen further. When they reach their full red colour, we have to move fast to pick them – no matter what the weather – so you can enjoy them within a few days. Ripe berries are picked progressively every three to four days. All fruit is picked by hand.

Why does my strawberry have some white at the stem end?
Only a tiny percentage of white shoulders may appear on some fruit – no more than two seeds from the bottom of the fruit. That’s because the rest of the fruit is ripe and ready to eat. If we waited for the white shoulder to colour, the rest of the fruit would be over-ripe.

Why are strawberries sold with their calyxes on?
Strawberries are always sold with their calyxes intact because they protect them from perishing and help keep them fresh. When you buy a punnet, make sure the calyxes look vibrant and green – as though they are still growing.

Should I wash my strawberries?
Moisture can affect the quality of strawberries so we don’t wash them once picked. We also minimise the number of times they are handled – from paddock to plate – so they are fresh and pristine when you buy them. Give them a light rinse and pat with a paper towel just before eating.

What size punnets are your strawberries available in?
Our strawberries come in 350g punnets which are heat-sealed to keep your strawberries super fresh and prolong shelf life. We meticulously select berries of the same size for every punnet. Fruit is placed carefully to minimise bruising during transit and storage.  

Where can I find your strawberries? 
Our strawberries are exclusive to Woolworths and are available at selected supermarkets in Queensland.

What are premium strawberries?
Taste and appearance are everything in strawberries. We conduct a range of technical and sensory checks as part of our quality assurance. When selecting premium fruit, we look for a nice, conical shaped berry with a full red colour, and a firm tip and texture. A special tool called a refractometer is used to read the sweetness of random strawberries in a tray. They must meet our sweetness test to be sold as premium fruit.

Farms

What do you look for when selecting varieties? 
Flavour is the number one decider for varietal selection, followed by appearance and yield. Typically, we choose strawberries with a conical tip and tapered shoulders – the classic strawberry shape. Depending on the variety, strawberries may vary in texture but firmness is important so the fruit holds its shape. We also choose varieties which harvest at particular times to fill specific windows.

Why do you grow strawberries in polytunnels? 
While polytunnel production is in its infancy in Australia, much of the world’s strawberries are grown this way and we expect it to become widespread here in the next decade. Polytunnels keep fruit dry, so there is less waste, and because it’s warmer inside the tunnels than outside, yield is more consistent.

What are polytunnels made of? 
The polytunnels are constructed of steel frames covered in clear polythene which diffuses light and is more conducive to growing soft fruit such as strawberries. Over time, the covers start to break down in the harsh Australian sun, blocking out much-needed light so they will replacing every few years.

What is substrate production? 
Substrate strawberries are produced in a coconut husk growing medium in bags on tiered shelves raised off the ground. When plants are raised off the ground, they cannot be waterlogged and are not susceptible to soil-borne pests and diseases. It's a sterile environment resulting in a more uniform crop.

How are substrate strawberries watered? 
Substrate strawberries are irrigated through spike drippers set up in individual growing bags. Plants are watered at four-minute intervals up to 10 times a day, depending on the weather. This is about 30 per cent less water compared with field-grown strawberries.

How are substrate strawberries picked? 
Pickers stand and move along the substrate shelves as they pick, placing berries into trays on a moving trolley. Once the trolley is full, fruit is transported to the packing shed for packing and distribution.

What chemicals do you use
All strawberries are particularly susceptible to pests and diseases because they have a soft exterior. To enable us to use as few chemicals as possible, we regularly monitor crops and use pesticides well below legal limits.

What food traceability systems are in place? 
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand requires us to be able to trace every piece of fruit. This helps us identify and correct any glitches in the supply chain. All rows are numbered, so we can tell where each piece came from and who picked or packed it. 

What happens to the berries you reject? 
Some of our second grade fruit, which is perfect in quality but which might be slightly blemished or misshapen, is sent to our value-add customers for cut or juiced fruit products.