Taste of New Zealand's summer: first strawberries fly off shelves

A kilo of fresh picked strawberries in her hands, Chloe Speck couldn't be happier. "I've always liked strawberries, it is just good when they are in season I can get them. As soon as I get home, I will wash them and scoff them down."

The 20-year-old was amongst the early visitors to Blenheim’s Hedgerows Hyrdroponic Strawberries farm when it opened for the season on Wednesday morning. In less than an hour, its punnets of plump, red fruit had sold out.

Hedgerows co-owner Jasmine Johnstone said they had to close down for a couple of hours to enable her five staff to pick more strawberries at the Springlands farm. "You never know what to expect, it has been so busy we haven't been able to keep up,” she said. "We’ve started late. Normally we would start picking at 7-8am, but it was our pickers’ first day, so it was training as well, and I did not expect so many people to come so early."

Last year, the strawberry farm opened on September 3. “The weather has been quite cold, and we didn't really know how much fruit we would have, and we just wanted to take it easy, and then the strawberries just decided they were going to ripen,” Johnstone said. "We have picked 137 kg, but we can get over 500kg in a day, so it's a relatively small amount."

The Blenheim shop will officially open on Saturday, but they started picking some strawberries on Father's Day."We sold about 100 punnets on Sunday, and that was just on the side of the road, without any advertisement."

Read the complete article at www.stuff.co.nz.


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