Perth strawberry farmers are under pressure with large crops and coronavirus border closures leaving them short a third of their usual harvest workforce. Roughly to pick this farm there is a need of about 80 and currently, there are about half. Last year hundreds of thousands of strawberries were left unpicked, with harvesters unable to keep up and $15 million worth of crops left to rot.
Before the pandemic, the industry employed about 1500 casual workers during peak season, 90 per cent of whom were backpackers. However, with no end in sight for the pandemic and its impact on borders, many WA farms slashed plantings by 20 per cent There’s no point growing something if you can’t pick it.
Strawberry farms are usually open to the public in time for the September-October school holidays, offering members of the public the option to pick their own fruit. However, in a bid to reduce wastage, farms in Wanneroo and Bullsbrook are opening six weeks early for customers to pick their own. You can bring the kids out make the most of it and enjoy the day.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)