Judge hails Gympie beans as best
MELBOURNE'S Stephen Wirtz was yesterday impressed with Gympie growers, saying we still had the best beans in Australia.
He was in town for the fruit and vegetable judging at the Gympie Show, but said he was usually in the Gympie area this time of year.
Mr Wirtz is now the owner of R.Anguey a bean and pea specialist company, that has had ties with Gympie farmers since before the Second World War.
His father owned the business before him - Mr Wirtz has had 37 years in the vegetable industry having started with potatoes in 1975.
Fruit and Vegetable Steward Carolyn Fewtrell said she was excited Mr Wirtz had donated his time to help out with the show.
"I'm always here this time of year anyway to visit the growers; I just came a little later," Mr Wirtz said.
"R.Anguey has been handling Gympie beans since before the mid 1930s.
"Gympie still has the best beans in the country and the best service."
The only downside to the fruit and vegetable judging - besides not being able to eat all the delicious produce - is that entries are down this year.
"There isn't a lot to choose from. Farmers have been reluctant to enter due to quality."
Mrs Fewtrell said the floods earlier in the year held off planting for a lot of farmers.
"We were four weeks late planting," he said of her Curra bean farm.
Commercial fruit and veg was down about 30% this year compared to the last few years and pumpkins were down about 50%.
Mrs Fewtrell said it was just too early to harvest most crops.
Meanwhile fellow steward Marianne Wyllie said junior and senior home garden entries were also "right down".
"Last year we had to try and find space," she said.
"Rain and flood has affected entries this year."
It's not just fruit and veg that have been light on entries. Both Mrs Fewtrell and Ms Wyllie said even the chooks had not been laying in time for the show.
Even so, Mr Wirtz said he was "very impressed" with the quality of the produce on display.
"It's nice to be able to give back. The company has had a long connection with Gympie.
"It's a real privilege to judge."
All the fruit and veg will be auctioned off on Saturday afternoon to raise some money for the show. In recent times over $1000 has been raised.
You will be able to bid on a box with a bit of everything in it; a tray of champion avocados; or a box of custard apples.
There should be something for most tastes.