Launched after 24 people contracted Hepatitis A, believed to be from eating contaminated frozen mixed berries which were imported, Matilda’s is the first business to produce locally grown berries in commercial quantities.
Matilda’s co-founders, Matt and Ruth Gallace, are using berries from Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, which has been in the Gallace family for 50 years, and has 800 acres of land in Victoria and Queensland and will source raspberries and blueberries from New South Wales.
According to the company, the origin of the product will be completely transparent – labelled on each and every bag, with no part of the product, or process, occurring offshore.
Matilda’s co-founder, Ruth Gallace, says they’ve now secured distributors in every state and will start processing berries on its Australian designed and engineered machinery in the Yarra Valley next month.
“Now we’re at the end of the Victorian season, we’re going to use fruit from our Queensland farms when it’s at its absolute peak to ensure when it hits the shelves, we know unequivocally that we’re delivering the best product we possibly can,” Gallace said.
She says they had hoped to have product on shelves earlier, but refuses to compromise on quality.
“We have had to start this entirely from scratch. That has meant having machinery purpose built and designed, and creating a factory from the ground up. The decision has meant things have taken much longer, much like an architectural house build, but we’ve chosen to take absolutely no short cuts, and we’re really proud of that. Everything about this business is Australian made.”