BerryWorld Australia has begun picking its first Tasmanian-grown raspberries, and packaging them for exclusive retail partner Woolworths in heat sealed punnets at its purpose-designed on-site packing facility.
The Orielton region in Tasmania is now the third Berryworld Australia farm to enter production since joint venture partner Piñata Farms established the growing arm in 2016.
BerryWorld-branded premium raspberries are also produced in winter at Wamuran and in summer at Stanthorpe, Queensland, taking advantage of the climatic variations of each region to spread the harvest out.
BerryWorld Australia also produces specialty strawberries in Queensland. All BerryWorld berries are sold in heat-sealed, tamper-evident punnets, resulting in 30 per cent less packaging than traditional punnets.
The Tasmanian operation includes some 30 polytunnels in production and a high-tech packhouse. All fruit is picked and packed on site. The first small volume of berries has been distributed to selected Woolworths stores in Tasmania.
Managing director Gavin Scurr said Tasmania's initial season would run until May with the next harvest resuming by November this year.
“Once the volume increases, fruit will be shipped daily by ferry from Devonport to Melbourne for Woolworths' distribution,” Scurr said.
Over time, BerryWorld Australia would supply the East Coast with raspberries, he said.
The farm is expected to reach full production by 2024.
The farm, north-east of Hobart, was previously used for agricultural purposes. Redevelopment included extensive earthworks to achieve the right slope for optimal drainage, construction of polytunnels with customisations such as wind doors, connection to the South-East Irrigation Scheme to ensure a stable and reliable water source, and construction and fit-out of the packhouse.
The expansion is the latest milestone for BerryWorld Australia, which launched a refreshed brand presence internationally last year.
BerryWorld-branded berries are produced exclusively in Australia by Piñata Farms under a joint venture with UK-based BerryWorld Group.