Our very own Hahndorf success story and one of South Australia’s favourite jam, condiment and sauce brands, Beerenberg, is celebrating a milestone this month, reaching half a century of growing strawberries. The now-international brand remains proudly family-owned, with the farm and original shopfront still located in Hahndorf, South Australia. It’s a South Aussie success story that’s proof that from little things, big things really can grow ...
“As a family, this milestone is important to us because 50 years ago dad took a risk in moving from dairy farming to strawberry growing as there weren’t many strawberries being grown in the hills at that time and he really didn’t know if it was going to work,” says Marketing Manager Sally Paech.
“Luckily he took that chance because one day early on, some leftover fresh strawberries were turned into jam and that was the birth of Beerenberg as we know it now.”
Beerenberg now produces over 100 different jams, condiments, meal bases, and slow cooker sauces, as well as still operating their famous strawberry farm.
But it was from humble beginnings that the business grew, something the family are still very proud of to this day.
“We are proud that we are still family-owned, and six generations have lived and worked on this farm since 1839. We are deeply connected to our heritage and this property and we see ourselves as stewards of the land, looking after it for future generations.”
To celebrate the milestone, the family are launching a brand-new jam into the mix - the ‘Strawberry & Rose Jam’ which pays homage to the late Grant and his beloved wife Carol who used to grow the roses at the farm.
“I know our dad would be extremely proud of this milestone and all that our family has achieved since that first patch of strawberries was planted on our farm,” says Sally.
“We are thrilled to launch this limited-edition Strawberry and Rose Jam that pays homage to the beautiful partnership in life and business that mum and dad had.”
It’s not just South Aussies that get to spread, dip, dunk and munch on Beerenberg’s goodies these days, with the company proud to now have a presence in 25 countries. Last year they launched in the United States, their products now available in over 100 specialty grocery stores on the West coast. They’re also still served in the air, a partner with Qantas since 1987, and can be found on breakfast tables in over 300 hotels worldwide.
The limited-edition gift box is available exclusively from the Beerenberg Farm Shop in Hahndorf and the Beerenberg online store. As the first strawberry was picked in 1969, the product will retail for $19.69.
It all began in 1838 when Johann George and Anna Rosina Paech sailed from Prussia to South Australia with their five children. They were among the 52 families who founded the town of Hahndorf and eventually went on to become farmers.
Five generations later, Grant and Carol Paech inherited the family farm in 1969, soon turning it into a large strawberry patch. After many early mornings selling the sweet red berries at the local markets, Grant was struck with a bad morning of trade. Deciding to turn his leftover berries into jam, Grant turned his misfortune into sweet success (quite literally), with all the jam selling out from their farmgate that day.
It is still Grant’s original recipe from 1971 that the family use to this day. “It boiled over and made a huge mess the first time he made it,” his daughter Sally remembers her mother sharing, “but he got the hang of it eventually, and we sold out completely on the first day.”
After the initial strawberry jam, the family began to experiment and launch new products into their growing business, including sauces, chutneys, other jams and pickled onions. The new products led to the opening of the shop, as well as the ever-popular pick-your-own strawberries side to the business, both of which remain a major attraction to this day.
1987 brought about the partnership with Qantas after Grant found out the airline was stocking Scottish jams in their cabins. A simple phone call to Qantas and a quest to find the perfect mini jam jars led Grant to seal the deal with the airline, a partnership which remains solid today.
While Grant sadly passed away in 2015, Carol is still very much involved in the business, with her children now proudly running the operations. Robert and Anthony Paech serve as the Farm Manager and Managing Director respectively, while their daughter Sally is the Marketing Director.