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‘We just had to throw it out’: Strawberry growers watch produce glut hit the waste bin

The plight of despairing small enterprises in the strawberry-growing industry has garnered sympathy this week, after a QLD grower exposed just how many pieces of edible fruit are going to waste.

A jump in cooler winter temperatures has been conducive to a spike in growth rates, leaving farmers with a produce glut.  But sadly, it seems many of this fruit is destined for the waste bin.

The excess has seen wholesale agents become rather choosy – with many rejecting fruit that isn’t “extra-large.”

This is seeing top quality Australian produce go to waste, aggrieving the likes of strawberry grower Mandy Schultz.

“It’s great quality fruit being thrown out,” she explains.

“We can’t process it anymore, the freezers are full, we just had to throw it out. There was literally nowhere for it to go.”

Schultz says the blame is with bigger farms, who persist in planting strawberry plants in a way that’s out of kilter with demand.

“There are far too many plants in the ground.”

“You have to ask the question, what is driving these big farms to keep planting more and more? Because somewhere there is an agenda we’re not aware of.”

“Something needs to be done. There needs to be some form of transparency.”

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