We only do fruit so we’re clean: How the berry hepatitis A scare inspired an Aussie farm business

I asked my grandfather, the asparagus baron, what crop he’d go into if he was starting out in 1980 rather than 1960.


Same in Australia.

Rare and expensive.

I want to plant berry bushes around the townhome in Brisbane instad of some decorative plant.

I get voted down.

But spurred by the hepatitis A outbreak from frozen berries earlier this year, a Victorian small family farming business has launched a 100 percent Australian-grown frozen berries product.

Many consumers fell ill in February after consuming Nanna’s frozen berries grown in Chile and China and packaged in Chinese factories.

Matilda’s is the brainchild of husband and wife team Ruth and Matt Gallace, third generation strawberry farmers on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

Alarmed by the outbreak, they fronted $500,000 to construct a purpose-built facility in the Yarra Valley to wash and snap freeze strawberries from Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, which has been in the Gallace family for 50 years, and their 800 acres of land in Victoria and Queensland as well as raspberries and blueberries from NSW and Tasmania.

As their facility is dedicated purely to fruit products, the couple insist their frozen berries will be free from contamination.

Um, that’s not the way microbes work, especially hep A which is transferred from human poop to humans.

But good luck.