Our Story - Celebrating 30 Years
Proudly family owned and operated
Rob and Sue took over the family strawberry business in 2018 and are dedicated to growing top quality berries for the Packhouse Shop and wholesale market. They are supported by Sue’s parents, Kevin and Shirley who established the business in 1992, and daughter Savannah.
The strawberry farm has been visited by thousands of satisfied customers popping by to pick up fresh strawberries, or taking the opportunity to enjoy ‘pick your own’.
Shirley and Kevin Donovan established Shirley's Strawberries in 1992 following Shirley working for others in the strawberry growing and supply business for over ten years. Together they built up the business from scratch selling their sought-after berries locally and on the wholesale market.
Looking for a change in direction, the iconic business was sold to Rob and Sue in 2018 which allowed Kevin and Shirley to take a step back from the business, but still work during the busy season. Kevin can be found in the Packhouse, or working in the strawberry fields as Pasture Manager ensuring that the plants continue to produce top quality product. Shirley is the Packhouse Manager who ensures quality control and that the berries are packed to industry specification. Savannah manages the shop and supports Shirley in the packhouse along with the Packhouse staff.
Rob and Sue enjoy the challenge of growing Horowhenua’s highest quality strawberries and continually look at ways of expanding the business. The latest addition to the business is the Real Fruit Ice Cream Caravan which can be visited at the Strawberry Farm (in season) or at selected events, markets and fairs. There you will find authentic real fruit ice cream, made with Shirley’s Strawberries and other fruits.
Shirley’s Strawberries is proud to offer seasonal employment to local families, some having worked at the farm for over 20 years. Growing expertise and the workers’ picking, grading and packing experience has resulted in the highest quality product which Shirley’s Strawberries is widely recognised for.
Did you know?
Strawberries are the only fruit that has seeds on the outside. Each strawberry has approximately 200 of them. That’s why it only takes one juicy bite to get seeds stuck in your teeth – yum!
Strawberries aren’t true berries like say, blueberries and raspberries. Technically, a berry has seeds on the inside whereas a strawberry has its seeds on the outside and to be technical, each seed on a strawberry is considered by botanists to be its own separate fruit.
What is that sweet aroma? Strawberries are members of the rose family which is why when you visit out shop and packhouse, you can smell the sweet aroma of the berries being packed. And, they smell as sweet as they taste – delicious!