Australian farmers have been going through a tough time with a severe drought. But a recent food contamination scare-someone spiking strawberries with needles-made it twice as tough for strawberry growers. This heartfelt response from Queenslanders, demonstrated much needed emotional and practical support for the farmers.
Strawberry sundaes sell out in Brisbane, raising more than $50,000 for farmers
The organisers of Brisbane’s great strawberry sundae stall have been left astounded by the amount of public support shown for farmers affected by the recent contamination scare.
Long lines of people wrapped around King George Square and down Adelaide Street yesterday as they snapped up 14,000 of the Ekka-inspired desserts.
Michael Hornby, chief executive of the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, said the support for the one-off event was “unbelievable”.
“In all honestly, we were ambitious to set a target of 10,000, and I thought if we got to 7,000 that would be a really, really great effort,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“But when we hit the 10,000 by 1:00pm we realised it was remarkable.
Halfway through the day organisers rang Brisbane Markets to find more strawberries and called dairy suppliers across Brisbane for more ice-cream.
“It was amazing. Everyone understood the challenge of the strawberry growers and we knew the value of the iconic treat that everyone loves,” Mr Hornby said.
“The population that came down was outstanding.”
Hundreds of volunteers
Yesterday was the first time the popular strawberry sundaes had been sold outside of Ekka time.
Every year the sundaes are made at the showgrounds by the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, with all monies raised going to medical research.
But on this occasion, the funds went to the Queensland Strawberry Association.
Mr Hornby said it wouldn’t have happened without the generosity of volunteers and suppliers.
“Strawberry growers like Ray from Wamuran donated 750 kilograms of his strawberries,” he said.
“We wanted to pay him but he said no ‘I want to help my fellow strawberry growers’.”
Costings are still being finalised but the foundation anticipates more than $50,000 will go to Queensland Strawberries.
“We did over $70,000 in sales and we did have to buy some things, but we believe that more than $50,000 will go straight back to the farmers,” Mr Hornby said.
“It was a big attack on the people that caused the grief, and this is the way the Queensland and national public tell them that they wouldn’t win.”