Strawberry workers find it tough

THE picking carts are parked by the dam on the Boswell family's strawberry farm at Nikenbah.

Even on full harvesting days this season, there aren't as many carts operating in the field as previous years.

First the rains came in the early part of 2012 and brought with them a fungus that decimated Keith Boswell's plants.

Then the weather cleared and finally it began to look like he might salvage some income from a bad year, only for bigger producers to glut the market with product, effectively rendering the fields of strawberries worthless.

Mr Boswell said he'd had years like this in the past, but admitted it was becoming more difficult to keep going.

"It's a lot harder than it used to be," Mr Boswell said.

"When we first started, we weren't audited. Now we are every year.

"One of the sprays I use now for caterpillars and stuff - it's $2,000 for five litres."

After such a torrid year, Mr Boswell is already looking ahead.

Although he lost many strawberries, his plants still carry enough fruit to supply locals.

Mr Boswell said the farm was open to the public Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8am-noon until the end of October.

Visitors to the 89 Chapel Rd address in Nikenbah can be confident the punnets they buy are picked fresh.

Mr Boswell said darker strawberries were sweeter, and the only way to achieve perfection was to not pick from a plant early.



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