Amazing drone pic captures the power of the people
PEOPLE power is coming to the rescue of Queensland's strawberry farmers.
In response to the fruit-tampering crisis, hordes of Queenslanders are heading to farms to show their support.
Hundreds lined up on Saturday to buy punnets direct from the source while some supermarket shelves lay empty.
"It's been amazing, absolutely extraordinary," Kerrie McMartin, of McMartins Strawberry Farm at Bli Bli on the Sunshine Coast, said.
"We've been overwhelmed by the support shown by the public. It is so appreciated."
Ms McMartin said this was usually a quiet time, coming to the end of the season, but the crowds arriving to buy directly from the farm during the past week matched the highs seen at the peak of the June/July school holidays.
It has been a similar scene around the state's southeast, with long queues of cars lining up at farms in the Wamuran district, north of Brisbane, during the week.
While 100 police continue to hunt those responsibly for spiking fruit with needles - sparking a national crisis that has threatened the industry - growers' spirits have been kept up by the concern and support of ordinary Queenslanders.
"Quite often, farmers can feel overlooked, but the support for us and for the farmers in the bush affected by drought is just fabulous," Ms McMartin said.
The Queensland Strawberry Industry and peak horticulture group Growcom also issued a statement acknowledging the "strawberry love" and asking consumers to be patient until shop supplies could return to normal.
"Be aware that it may take a little time for supply to be back to normal so don't be angry if you see empty shelves - some other enthusiastic strawberry lover has just beaten you to it," the statement said.
"Looking forward to being back in full swing soon!"
Woolworths is mounting a strawberry sales offensive in supermarkets this weekend.
"We've continued to stock strawberries throughout the past fortnight," head of produce Paul Turner said.
"In the last few days we've seen a strong pick-up in demand from customers and strawberries will be prominently on show in our produce section this weekend."
The fruit is being promoted prominently in supermarkets and hundreds of extra staff have been rostered in produce sections nationwide to reassure customers.