From farm to freezer

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How many different types of berries have you eaten? Have you ever tasted an elderberry, a loganberry, a cloudberry, a dewberry, a huckleberry or a mulberry? What about a berry that has been grown, processed and frozen completely in Australia?

That’s what we’re tasting today as part of our next From Paddock to Plate production. Australia’s first 100 per cent locally grown frozen berries. Hand picked, washed and snap-frozen all within a few hours means that they taste just as they should, fresh, sweet and juicy.

Meet Matt and Ruth Gallace and their children, Charlotte and Ella. The Gallace family has been farming since 1964 and now three generations later are revolutionising the berry industry in Australia.

Alarmed by dozens of people contracting hepatitis A from eating contaminated frozen mixed berries that were imported, the Gallace family took action producing the first commercial quantities of Australian frozen berries.

The berries are locally sourced from the Gallace’s own farms and those of other Australian growers. The strawberries are grown in Victoria and Queensland and the raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are grown in NSW and Tasmania.

Strawberries are covered in tiny yellow seeds. The dried seeds on the outside of the strawberry are the fruit. In fact each seed on a strawberry is considered by botanists to be its own separate fruit. The fleshy part of the strawberry is a part of the flower located under the ovary, known as the accessory fruit. This part of the flower swells and turns bright red to attract animals to eat and distribute the seeds. Strawberries are the only fruit that wear their seeds on the outside. The average berry is adorned with some 200 of them. No wonder it only takes one bite to get seeds stuck in your teeth!

About three to four tonnes of berries are blast frozen daily. While berry harvest is from October to May in Victoria, harvest in Queensland (where Matt and Ruth also source berries) starts in June and goes through until October. This means that they always have a supply of fruit, emphasising the importance of geographic diversity in a business like this one. This diversity as well as seasonal changes each year influence the flavour of the berries.

“When the hepatitis A scare broke it really brought to the forefront the importance of honest, trustworthy labelling, food origins and trusting the source of the food. As a mother, food safety and food origins have always been very important to me but that really highlighted the flaws in our labelling systems and the way that imported and local ingredients can be mixed together and marketed in a way that to me is not entirely transparent or honest,” said Ruth.

“We’re really proud to be able to provide a product which challenges the current food labelling system. There needs to be far more transparency in food education, food origin and how it’s processed and packaged and we’re doing all we can to make this happen,” said Matt.

This video will be available to teachers who are subscribed to the national From Paddock to Plate Schools Program in January 2017. Click here to subscribe.

Louise FitzRoy | Founder & Director
From Paddock to Plate

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After all our recent weather events, here is a photo that is definitely worth sharing! Thank you to Barb Eulenstein at Boola in NSW for your amazing photography skills to capture this incredible moment. #FromPaddocktoPlate #feedyourmid

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