BERRY GOOD NEWS: Strawberry boom amid tampering crisis
WHEN news of the strawberry contamination broke, sales of the fruit dropped by 75 per cent at Causley Fresh, but with images of devastated farmers dumping tonnes of strawberries out in landfill because of poor sales, there has been a turn-around in the fruit's fortunes.
Causley Fresh owner Jess Causley said she felt guilty her Grafton store had pulled strawberries off the shelves, as they could hardly sell a punnet.
"The phone started ringing immediately, as soon as I got in to work, with people asking about the strawberries, if they should throw them out or what they should do," Ms Causley said.
"I had bought a whole pallet on the morning of the day the first needle was discovered, and sales went down by about 75 per cent from then."
However since then, an awareness campaign has highlighted the devastating effect the food tampering crisis has had on Australian farmers, and the public has rallied behind the cause.
"We are now selling more strawberries today that I've ever sold before, and a lot of people who have been buying them have told me they're doing it to support the farmers," Ms Causley said.
"People have seen the dumped strawberries and it's really touched them, and people have realised how devastating it's been."
Ms Causley said the "cut them up, don't cut them out" message that has swept social media has helped change people's perceptions over strawberries.
"The message seems to be getting out and we've sold hundreds and hundreds," she said.
"People still want to support farmers, and I think they've realised that as long as they cut the strawberries up just to be safe there will be no problems."