We have been growing Strawberries since 1981

Read Our Story

Strawberry Flower
Filed Fresh Strawberries

About Gala Berry & Matakana Berry Co.

Gala Berry & Matakana Berry Co is one of the largest strawberry producers in New Zealand and the biggest commercial grower in the Omaha Flats area.

We are really proud of our strawberry operation and equally proud of our reputation as a premium berry growing company with a name for quality, delicious products grown with care and picked with pride.

Gala Berry & Matakana Berry Co are part of Fresh Food Exports which has been growing in Omaha Flats since 1991.  In early 2016 Fresh Food Exports was bought by Grant & Lynda Ashby who are are extremely experienced “hands on” strawberry growers who grew under the Gala Berry brand in Coatesville/Albany.  Their two children Matt and Tashi also work at Fresh Food Exports and are an important part of our business.  Grant & Lynda have been growing strawberries since 1981, are family orientated and have an absolute passion for producing quality fruit and for New Zealand producing the world’s best!

Like the berries, Lynda & Grant’s very loyal team at Gala Berry & Matakana Berry Co are also hand-picked.

Meet Our Team

The Team

Together they run Gala Berry & Matakana Berry Co to bring you the very best strawberries. The team works with nature to grow delicious fruit in a natural environment with a minimum amount of horticultural intervention. They use their many years of experience to achieve excellence by working with the natural environment rather than attempting to control it. Their berries are sun-ripened and bursting with flavour, and they just love them!

Grant & Lynda Ashby Managing Directors

Grant & Lynda Ashby

Managing Directors

Grant & Lynda are the passion behind our strawberries! You will always find Grant in a Tractor, or feeling the soil between his toes. Lynda is normally at the packing table with our team of happy packers, making sure that our customers get only the best quality strawberries.

Accounting Toni

Toni Squire

Accounts Manager

Toni is our accounts and administration person at Galaberry/Matakana Berry Co. She looks after all things that involve bits of paper and numbers. As a side line, Toni is also responsible for our Food Safety Programme & Compliancy requirements.

Cathy Cooper Human Resources Manager

Human Resources Team

Human Resources Team

Our Human Resources Team are our resident "mother hens" and they take all our staff under their wings. Their role at Gala Berry is not just human resources, but a bit of social worker and camp mother. Our HR Team ensures that the "human" factor is first and foremost in their work.

Tashi Ashby Marketing & Quality Control

Phil Rutherford

Chef Extraordinaire
Our own personal Chef for the staff here at Gala Berry! Phil keeps our army of workers marching by making the most amazing meals, cakes and biscuits.
Chris Ure Pastoral Care/Facilitator

Pastoral Care Facilitator

Pastoral Care/Facilitator
Our Pastoral Care Facilitator takes care of all our staffs' needs. Whether it is a visit to the Doctor or Dentist, a plaster for a cut or just needing a kind ear to talk to.
Matt Ashby Farm Manager

Matt Ashby

Farm Manager
Our own "MacGyver" able to fix everything with a piece of No8 wire and a bit of chewing gum. Matt is wise beyond his years, and is a "hands on" member of our field staff.
Why Omaha/Matakana?

Strawberry Growing At Omaha & Matakana

Fresh Food Exports fruit growing operation began at Omaha Flats, Matakana in the 1990s growing persimmons, melons, blueberries and strawberries. The operation’s main focus has since moved to strawberries & blueberries which are now grown under the brand of Gala Berry.  Grant & Lynda Ashby have always wanted to grow in Omaha & Matakana and in 2015 made the decision to take over the Omaha operation as a family.  As a family we are fully committed to the success and growth of Gala Berry & Matakana Berry Co.

About Omaha & Matakana

The Omaha Flats region in Matakana was identified in the 1960s as having premium soils capable of growing a wide ranges of crops. The region also has the advantage of harvesting earlier than the traditional areas in Auckland because of its high sunshine hours. In addition, being coastal and therefore being in close proximity to the sea, the Omaha area has a much lower chance of frosts in winter.

Growing Sustainably

We Know How To Grow Strawberries Sustainably

Strawberries are one of the first berries to ripen in spring and our strawberries are grown outside in fields in the Omaha Flats region. Planting is critical and each plant is hand planted in rows that have been developed to suit the local area’s soil conditions. After planting, it takes about a month from the time the flower opens until the berry is ready to be picked.

Over the last 35 years we have worked very hard to grow sustainably, improve our horticultural methods and to reduce our carbon footprint. To achieve this we regularly review the latest technology and research, our methods and our procedures. We aim to review and reduce our water usage and waste, we use alternative weed and pest control methods where possible, we recycle all office and farm waste, we have installed and use efficient water and power appliances and purchase recycled consumables and equipment wherever possible. We also aim to purchase products and services that are made locally and in an ethical manner.

Sustainable & Quality...Read More About Our Quality Guarantee

Hand Picked Strawberries
Our Promise

Strawberry Quality & Consistency

We are absolutely 100% focused on handling our fruit with the utmost of care to reduce bruising.  Our strawberries & blueberries only ever receive the most gentle of handling; we pick, grade and pack our berries very, very carefully, so you, the customer consistently get the best quality fruit.

Our berries are hand-picked and packed every day so you can get freshest produce possible.

Strawberries are delicate and are vulnerable to heat damage so we developed specialised cooling facilities on our farm to chill the fruit to the absolute, perfect temperature.

Our Food Safety Standards

Food Safety Standards

Being a big operation means we have been able to become more self-sufficient and control the supply-chain procedures. We have invested in equipment so we can process on site and at our centralised packhouse.  We have large capacity chillers to ensure full quality control, and therefore the safety, of all our produce.

Our packhouse is a custom designed packing facility for strawberries in New Zealand. Every step is designed to maintain an optimal temperature and our packhouse incorporates the best possible food safety practices. Our growing and packing operation sees all products packed to both domestic and international food safety standards.

We are audited annually so you can be rest assured we have harvested and grown our crops using the best known practices for production, packaging and distribution. Our robust quality assurance program provides 100% traceability and accountability from crop to you, the customer.  In 2019 we became Global Gap Certified which we are very proud of!

We are proud of the following food safety certifications we hold:


Find Out More About Our Berries

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