In this month’s Shed Business Spotlight, we’re featuring Sally and Barry from Moutere Strawberries – a family-owned and operated farm located in the beautiful Upper Moutere, just out of Nelson, New Zealand. A local gem with the best strawberries around, sold locally into retailers and cafes around the region… and now they’ve got a new shop, complete with a SheShed Star Canopy Cabin!
The cabin is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view of the farm. Inside, you’ll find all sorts of local produce and products, including strawberries of course, fresh fruit ice-cream, jams, chutney, and free-range eggs.
There are also some very friendly farm animal friends to meet, including two lovely farm dogs and a pig called Peony, which the kids will love. If you’re looking for a fun day out with the family, or an excuse to stock up on fresh produce, Moutere Strawberry Farm Shop is definitely worth a visit.
A SheShed Kitset Cabin is a wonderful option to extend a home run or farm-based business and we loved getting to chat to Sally & Barry to see how they are enjoying theirs!
Tell us more about Moutere Strawberries and the delicious locally grown products that you sell?
“Moutere Strawberries is a family-owned small business based in beautiful Upper Moutere. We have about 20,000 strawberry plants that are grown hydroponically and we also make real fruit jams under the label Moutere Fruits.
The SheShed has allowed us to sell our products right from the farm and not just through retailers.”
What is a usual day like out on the Strawberry Farm?
“We usually start picking around 8.30am in the morning and depending on the amount of fruit that day can continue till about 3pm. The Strawberry Hut opens at 12pm so all the punnets of strawberries for sale are freshly picked straight from farm to shop.
Fruit that is second grade is cut up and frozen either for our 500g packs of frozen strawberries or for real fruit ice cream.
I try to make jam two or three times a week to keep up with shop and retailer demand. All our jams are made from either produce grown on the farm or purchased locally.”
What do you love most about running this business from the farm in the beautiful Upper Moutere?
“Being able to run a business from the farm has been amazing. We no longer have to do markets and the strawberries do not have to be transported. We have a small commercial kitchen on the farm so all jam is also made on site.
By adding the real fruit ice cream machine, frozen strawberries and our own free-range eggs we are able to offer customers more choice of products.”
How long is the Strawberry Season and what are your plans for the Winter Season?
“The Strawberry season for us is very long compared to other strawberry growers. We usually have fruit by early November and we continue to pick until the end of April.
Over winter we prepare all the new bags and plant all our new strawberry plants. There is always plenty to do and we continue to sell our frozen strawberries and Moutere Fruits jams. We are also hoping to paint the interior of the shed white and add a second shed for making coffee.”
Why did you decide to build your SheShed and what do you use it for?
“We had been thinking of getting some sort of new strawberry hut for a while, as previously we had an honesty box and we wanted to expand.
It had to be big enough to house an ice cream machine and shop counter but not so big that it was a full-size shop.
We had seen the display SheShed at Old Factory Corner and one day I just decided to wander into the office and tell the staff what I wanted. From there we were sent options for size and window design and were able to select a model that suited us and our business.”
Did you build the SheShed by yourself, or have family or a friend help, or hire someone?
“Barry built the ShedShed himself with a little help from friends. He has quite a lot of building experience and still found it quite challenging at times, especially the roof. Unfortunately, we were sent the wrong window initially although this was fixed quickly by SheShed.”
What did you need to do to your property to prepare for the shed?
“The ground was heavily compacted and levelled before placing bearers for the shed to sit on. This was done by Barry as he had the equipment and knowledge to do it himself. We chose this method in case we want to move the shed at any stage.”
What’s your favourite aspect of the SheShed now that it has been completed?
“We love the look of the ShedShed and it looks perfect on our farm. We were also pleased with the joinery, especially the French Doors and the windows.”
Why did you choose to buy a SheShed in particular, instead of any other brand of shed?
“We did look at other brands of shed but we liked the overall look and feel of the SheShed best.”
When other people see it for the first time, what do they most comment on, or what are they most surprised about?
“Customers love the SheShed with its hanging baskets and deck displaying our products. The side window is perfect for buying a real fruit ice cream.”
You can find Moutere Strawberries at 20 Neudorf Road, Upper Moutere and check out more info on products over on their website www.mouterestrawberries.co.nz and updates on opening times on Facebook and Instagram @mouterestrawberries.
Sally & Barry created their Strawberry Farm shop using our 3 x 3 meter Star Canopy Cabin, which has a beautiful cottage look and is perfect way to extend the space for customers with the canopy. at the entrance. Click here to see info about the Star Canopy Cabin Kitset.