From the tried and tested to innovative production methods and grower techniques, we keep raising the bar to grow quality berries
We pride ourselves on our berry growing team. Every team member has been chosen for their growing credentials and dedication to producing great tasting fruit. Our team led by managing director, Gavin Scurr, manages a year 'round production cycle from bed preparation and polytunnel maintenance to planting and harvesting at our key farm locations. Our team includes berry growers with specialist knowledge in substrate production and seasoned farm managers who manage planting and picking schedules, forecast volumes and implement agronomic techniques to improve yield and farming efficiencies. The fluctuating workforce includes seasonal crews during peak harvesting times. Once picked, our fruit is graded, sorted and undergoes Quality Assurance checks before being packed on-site for next-day distribution to our supermarket customers.
Managing director Gavin drives an expanding business with more than 1,010 hectares under cultivation across Australia, producing four fruit lines. Gavin and his brother Stephen leveraged off their family’s pineapple growing expertise to diversify into commercial strawberry production in 2000. By 2015, Piñata Farms had become a leading player in Australia’s strawberry market. Today, there are some 70 hectares of strawberries under cultivation. A portion of the crop is set aside for specialty BerryWorld varieties. Renowned for embracing innovative production methods and farming technologies, Piñata Farms became the country’s first large-scale grower to grow strawberries under polytunnels in 2015. Substrate strawberry production was established in 2016 in readiness for the first commercial harvest of BerryWorld Australia-branded fruit in 2017. Specialty BerryWorld raspberries followed in 2018.
Technical manager, Lee Peterson, is responsible for importing BerryWorld varieties from Europe and overseeing their propagation to a commercial stage in all growing regions within Australia. Lee has extensive experience in agricultural production spanning 30 years including new crop development, horticultural production systems, plant extracts and waste stream management. He oversees the development of specialty berry growing operations at Wamuran and Stanthorpe in Queensland and the establishment and development of a 20-hectare farm at Orielton in southern Tasmania, including polytunnel and packhouse construction. Once established, the Tasmanian farm will produce strawberries, raspberries and blackberries and will be the main Australian growing region for BerryWorld raspberries. Lee has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a PhD in Agricultural Science. He was appointed to BerryWorld Australia in July 2018.
Wamuran-based strawberry farm manager, Jason Dipple, oversees the 12-month production cycle of our winter crop. About 56 hectares of strawberries are grown in the field and under polytunnels. As soon as the very last strawberry is picked, planning for the following season begins. It takes Jason and the strawberry crew about three months to prepare strawberry beds, cover with more than 250,000 sheets of plastic and set up irrigation lines before planting can begin. Approximately 2.5 million runners are planted in individual holes within the plastic – a process which takes several weeks. Jason has played an integral role in developing quality standards in our strawberry production since joining Piñata Farms in 2008. In 2015, his efforts were rewarded with a Queensland Strawberry Growers’ Association award for outstanding achievement.