Local berry farm opens the gates for delicious berry treats, straight from the farm
Cooloola Berries has 50,000 strawberries, 600 blueberries and even plans for raspberries in 2016. Jason, whose grandparents began growing in the mid 1960’s, is owner and full time farmer along with his wife Kim and their four children. Together, the family makes this small farm feel like it’s much larger, using sustainable practices to eliminate waste, and even saving the less than prime pickings for their specialty ice-cream. Their children work on the farm during summer holidays for a nice change from the classroom, and Jason says it also gives them an opportunity to earn extra money for the holidays.
While you’ll find them at the markets selling preserves, strawberries, blueberries and even their neighbours Bowen mangoes, as the strawberry season ends, you’ll also find them in the Cooloola Berries Ice Cream Van, where they sell their fresh fruit blended ice cream that’s popular at the markets. You’ll also find them with the gates open at the Cooloola Berries farm.
“We share our passion for farming, and welcome schools and tour groups to experience life on the farm and generate more interest in agriculture,” the family stated, adding that customers can pick their own berries right from the farm. Their variety is unmatched in any supermarket, where 80% of the strawberries grown are one or two resilient varieties. At Cooloola, there are five different varieties of strawberries, each of which has its own shape, texture and even taste. Camarosa, Gaviata, San Andres and Ruby Gems are just a few of the succulent varieties found at the farm and markets. “Our farm gate also allows consumers to learn about the hard work of farmers and the essentially manual process of strawberry production,” Jason stated. “This helps consumers to value quality local food producers.”
For the markets, all fruit is picked ripe, and the healthy berries reflect the practices that the family places at the centre of their business model: sustainability. For example, they reduce food waste by using any weather affected berries in their delicious ice-cream, jams or preserves. They also keep their farm diverse with blueberries and plans for raspberries in the coming seasons. They sell direct, eliminating the middle man and extra costs, and they incorporate Slow Food philosophy whenever possible, such as keeping their pick your own strawberry prices the same all season. “We find great satisfaction in contributing to the local economy,” said the family, whose farm is located in Wolvi.
From June to November, the strawberry season runs strong, while blueberries are in season in August and December. This makes the end of the year the perfect time to gather the last of the harvest for delicious fruit blended ice creams and desserts. To cool off with some ice-cream or taste some fresh preserves straight from the farm, visit Cooloola Berries this week at Noosa’s Farmers’ Market.
For further details visit facebook.com/CooloolaBerries