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Community & Business

6 August, 2021

Strawberry season here to stay

IT'S STRAWBERRY time again on the Tablelands, and the good news is, that this year, it is not going to end.


Theresa Barletta and Stephanie Knowles of Shaylee Strawberries show some of the delicious products available in their new dine in cafe.

BY SALLY TURLEY 

IT'S STRAWBERRY time again on the Tablelands, and the good news is, that this year, it is not going to end.

Shaylee Strawberries may have been closed for months, but they certainly haven't been idle. Huge changes have occurred in the region's favourite fruit outlet and those changes have been made with the local public in mind. 

For 30 years people have been flocking to Shaylee during the annual harvest to indulge in fresh berries, strawberry jam and ice-cream.

But business owners, Joe and Alice Barletta wanted more for their customers and have spent a lot of time and money converting their place from a "Grab and go" drive through, to a destination, where patrons can come in, stay a while and enjoy all that is on offer. 

Capitalising on their view onto luscious strawberry fields framed by the spectacular series of 350,000 year old volcanic cinder cones, known as the "Seven Sisters," the Barletta's have built a brand new contemporary, casual, dine in cafe with an extended menu. 

"We took over the business at the end of the 2018 season and had realized tourists weren't spending the time at Shaylee, that they were spending at other local attractions, because the only sit down area was impacted at times by wind and rain," Joe Barletta said.

"We started the renovations late last year and they are almost complete now. The cafe is open for tourists and locals to come and enjoy out of the weather dining, seven days a week, from 9am to 4pm." 

The new menu includes a wide variety of gelatos and sorbets, coffees and teas as well as gourmet toasties, croissants and quiches for lunch and brownies, muffins, muesli pots, fruit salads and scones baked fresh by qualified pastry chef, Stephanie, for those in-between times. 

"The "pick your own" experience, which has always been very well received by the public, is only a couple of weeks away now. We are running about a month behind schedule this year because our Victorian supplier's harvest was held up a month by the weather," Mr Barletta said. 

With strawberry stocks selling out most days, the pressure is on the 50,000 young plants in Shaylee's two paddocks, to supply customer demand for one of the planets healthiest and most attractive fruits. 

The first fruit to ripen each spring, strawberries are packed with vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants. 

They are a sodiumfree, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food, and are a good source of manganese and potassium. 

For hefty health benefits, including potentially improved heart and brain health, reduced risk of some cancers, and better management of type 2 diabetes, it is recommended that individuals eat a serving of eight strawberries a day.

And if those eight strawberries happen to be mixed through a cold, creamy gelato, all the better.

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