It has been two full years since couple Paul and Andrea Hammington prepared a new strawberry patch in Whakamaramara Rd, and they are stoked to say it has been thriving.

In 2017 the couple prepared the strawberry patch, under their business' name Bite Me Berries, with 25,000 plants.

Paul said they now had 32,000 plants and did not grow enough - "We keep selling out but we don't want anymore as we are semi-retired".

He said business was going great and they were happy they moved over from Cambridge.

Advertisement

They had amazing strawberries which were growing beautifully, and the farm's gate sales, which were mostly through word-of-mouth, were exploding, he said.

"We are stoked with it."

Paul Hammington at his Whakamaramara strawberry patch. Photo / Shauni James
Paul Hammington at his Whakamaramara strawberry patch. Photo / Shauni James

However, there had been difficult moments due to the area's weather, he said.

"We had a whole year's rainfall in December last year, and lost half the crop that month."

He said people were now coming from miles away to buy strawberries at the gate sales. MG Marketing Tauranga also distributed his fruit to a few places too.

Paul said although the weather was a lot more wild and windy up here, the area was beautiful.

"There's something magical about this place. It's a really close-knit community."

There was also amazing fishing and white baiting, which was what he enjoyed doing in his spare time, he said.

Advertisement

He said at the strawberry patch they had a fabulous little all-lady crew made up of locals.

Paul had been growing strawberries for 35 years.

He said his father grew for 30 years before himself, and led the way within the industry to make a lot of changes for the better of the growers.

When asked what it was that he loved about growing strawberries all these years, Paul said he had a passion for watching them grow, right from the start to the finish - "it's just great fun".

He thought that, weather permitting, there would be a lot of strawberries around for the festive season and that crops would do well in general.

"I think my crop will have reasonably sized Christmas fruit."