Pick your own berries providing education opportunities

Pick your own berries providing education opportunities

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Nathan, Louisa, John and Stephen Baronio of Eastern Colour, Applethorpe.

Nathan, Louisa, John and Stephen Baronio of Eastern Colour, Applethorpe.

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The growth of pick your own strawberry offerings amidst picker shortages is doubling as an opportunity to teach city consumers more about where their food comes from.

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An Applethorpe farm is using pick your own strawberry offerings as an opportunity to teach city consumers more about where their food comes from as picker shortages continue to plague the industry.

Eastern Colour's Nathan Baronio said they decided to hold some pick your open days at their Applethorpe apple and strawberry farm back in October to try and stop so much fruit going to waste.

"It was born out of the labour shortage but we've continued it to do some education and help people learn more about how we grow the strawberries," he said.

"It's gone really well, we've had a fair few repeat people.

"We're doing more as a way to give something back to the community now.

"Maybe if people understand the work that goes into growing and picking strawberries, they may also understand why prices might go up if there aren't enough workers this year.

Mr Baronio said he thought their farm was managing better than many strawberry growers amid the harvest labour shortage.

"We're getting by, we had to spray some crop out," he said.

"We've lost some crop due to not being able to pick it at the right time for quality.

"We've lost half a million in revenue and we sprayed out six and a half acres of strawberries."

Mr Baronio said they had a good supply of Pacific workers at the moment, but the situation had taken a toll.

"We're working far too much, the labour shortage is really putting a lot of pressures on the workers, the managers and farmers who have to work harder than ever," he said.

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