There is a little dirt road that goes inland from the Sunshine Coast and it's there you can find your strawberry bliss. Cooloolah Berries is more than a family farm, it is also a mission for better strawberries and and a fulfilling lifestyle in Wolvi (Gympie).
Kim Watson and her husband Jason had been growing berries for commercial sale part time when the price dipped about 60 cents a punnet (basket) less than they cost to grow and harvest. The pair decided to buy their own farm and sell the best berries they could retail grown naturally and not treated with anti-ripening agents.
And the berries are amazing. We visited the farm towards the very end of the growing season and bought a basket of Albion-variety strawberries. The berries were deep red with little or no white shoulder, a nice texture and deliciously sweet with a hint of acid. They lasted us for three days and we wished we could have had more, but by that time we were far south.
Visit Kim and family (she is also raising a crop of boys) during the Australian spring for berries (including pick your own) or come any time to sample her homemade scones, jams, ice creams and sorbets or other treats.
Sundays they often offer alfresco paella feasts. We weren't lucky enough to be there for their Sunday cookout, but Kim says her paella is full of chicken and chorizo and Watsons have been known to take their giant paella pans and cooking rings on the road for special events.
I don't have a new strawberry recipe for you from Kim, but here are a few favorites of mine: ice cream, strudel and soup!