Local Producers Building Trust: My Berries
Allison and Stuart McGruddy, the founders of the frozen berry company, My Berries, invited me to their warehouse in Caboolture to discuss all things berry and create a delicious recipe that combines our unique products. My Berries are all about locally grown, 100% Australian produce and the difference is clear in the quality of their berries.
Like Maleny Dairies, My Berries was founded by an Australian family who are, according to Stuart;
“Not afraid to get into a David and Goliath scenario.”
While more people are becoming educated about what it takes to bring milk to their table, berries remain a mystery to many Queenslanders. These small bushes are incredibly labour intensive to harvest and labour costs can account for 50% of farmer’s outlays.
Berries are Forever
For Stuart, an ex-London executive chef who returned home for a better life for his family, berries never go out of season.
“I’m really excited that it’s mango season right now but by the end of mango season, I’m sick of mangoes. When it comes to berries I never get to that saturation point.”
The warehouse holds a seriously industrial kitchen with all the bells and whistles needed for Stuart to come up with new recipes. Stuart reckons berries match all seasons with winter being a great time for warming, baked dishes while Spring and Summer inspire spritzy, light creations.
“It’s all about providing accessibility to a nutritionally dense, delicious and affordable product, even to people living in remote areas.”
Trusting in Frozen
Customer confidence in frozen produce crashed last year when there was a Hepatitis A outbreak due to contaminated imported frozen berries. In much the same way as the Milk Crisis has encouraged the public to question the origins and quality of produce, this outbreak highlighted the safety concerns around raw products from overseas. Stuart is proud to be able to restore some faith in frozen.
“With our locally grown berries, we can give people confidence in the safety of the products as we source our berries from farms with excellent safety certification.”
100 Ways With Berries
According to Allison, who runs stalls at local Farmers Markets every Saturday (Davies Park Market, West End, and Jan Power’s Farmers Markets at The Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm) people use their frozen berries in smoothies, conserves, in granola, on porridge and as snacks straight from the packet for teething babies.
“There is always a story about what people are doing with them and it’s great to connect with people through our farmer’s market stalls.”
My Berries now have over 60 stockists including some IGA’s, independent grocers and delis. A full list of stockists can be found at myberries.com.au.