Strawberry fields dream a reality

Farm employee Flynn Ruddick, strawberry farm manager Roly Mackinnon, Lyons Liberal MHR Eric Hutchinson and Hugh Mackinnon.  Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

Farm employee Flynn Ruddick, strawberry farm manager Roly Mackinnon, Lyons Liberal MHR Eric Hutchinson and Hugh Mackinnon. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

IN JUST two months this paddock will be filled with strawberries and by November, many will have been packed and sold by Driscoll's.

The strawberries belong to Longford's Mackinnon family, who decided a number of years ago to diversify their farm - Mountford at Longford - and expand into the horticulture industry with an $800,000 strawberry farm.

A $400,000 federal government grant through the Tasmanian Jobs and Growth Plan helped make the dream a reality and has seen the family start work to produce strawberries for US-based berry processor Driscoll's.

Roly Mackinnon said he moved across to the strawberry growing area three months ago.

"It started out as a pasture paddock and now it's this," Mr Mackinnon said.

He said irrigation infrastructure still needed to be completed and hoops for the greenhouse needed to be built before about 200,000 plants were planted in July.

The plants will be ready for harvest in late October or early November, depending on weather.

Federal Lyons MHR Eric Hutchinson was at the farm yesterday to formally acknowledge that the Mackinnons would get the promised federal funding.

Hugh Mackinnon, Roly's father, said the venture would provide up to five full-time equivalent jobs and between 40 and 60 picking jobs from October.

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