THE retail brand of SSS Strawberries, Gina's Table, opened its doors to a new freeze-drying facility in Bundaberg on December 6.
The factory uses NASA inspired technology to turn strawberries not suitable for market, into freeze dried snacks.
SSS Strawberries general manager, Gina Dang, said they were looking to diversify.
Freeze dry fruits appealed to them because the fruit "maintains its integrity and nutrition...the flavour is intensified because the water is removed during freeze-dry process", she said.
Ms Dang recalled how her parents and six siblings escaped from Vietnam in 1990 by boat.
When they arrived in Perth her parents worked as strawberry pickers. Seven years later, they leased some land and started growing their own strawberries.
The family saw greater opportunity in the eastern states and moved to Bundaberg, where they struggled to make things work.
After three seasons they employed some staff and currently have more than 350 workers who live in accommodation developed by SSS Strawberries.
The 30 unit purpose-built village houses 240 residents with another 48 units under construction.
Ms Dang said the accommodation helped prevent worker shortages.
They have also purchased the tallest building in the Bundaberg, which will be turned into short to medium term accommodation to help with the housing crisis.
"We are currently working on the construction of a number of homes in Vietnam, as well as support for orphanages and the Philippines, who have just been through a major flood...we also support local clubs to help the kids when we can," Ms Dang said.
The new facility has the capacity to process 2000 tonnes of wet fruit and Ms Dang said they had plans to produce other freeze dried fruit and vegetables.
"We want to start with the berries and an apple and mango line to help other farmers in the area to utilise what they have...it's endless what can go in the machine," Ms Dang said.
Queensland treasurer Cameron Dick said the new factory was not only great for SSS Strawberries but also many growers in the Bundaberg region.
"The factory is also creating 50 good local jobs and we know good jobs are the best thing to help families during the national cost-of-living challenge," he said.
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