Ben is keen to find the perfect punnet of strawberries - even if he has to pick them himself!
Koonoomoo is a rural township in northern Victoria, north of Shepparton. It is on the Murray River in the Murray Goulburn Valley, an area which produces some of Australia's best fruit, oats, barley, sunflowers, wheat and wool. Quality wine is also produced there.
The Bangarang Aboriginal people lived here prior to Charles Sturt's trip down the Murray in the 1830s with a droving party and 300 head of cattle.
The Murray has towering river redgums and sandy beaches, making it a popular destination for holiday makers. It's great for camping, walking, fishing, swimming, boating and canoeing.
This irrigated fruit-growing and dairying area is known as Peaches and Cream Country. A festival is held every second year in January.
The Hayes family runs the Scenic Drive Strawberry Farm. Its nine hectares are brimming with all sorts of berries raspberries, boysenberries, blackberries and, of course, strawberries.
They start picking around the middle of October and go through to February. Quality strawberries and jam strawberries are picked ripe from the plants and sent to a processing area.
There they are sorted into those which go into punnets for retail sale, those which go on to plates, mainly for restaurants, and those which are made into jams, tarts, toppings, added to ice cream, frozen or made into dessert wine.
But you can also pick your own berries and somehow those always seem the sweetest.
Koonoomoo, three hours north of Melbourne
Scenic Drive Strawberry Farm pick-your-own strawberries cost $6 a kilo.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.
Scenic Drive Strawberry Farm
Torgannah Road, Koonoomoo 3644
Ph: (03) 5871 1263, Fax: (03) 5871 firstname.lastname@example.org
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