Buying produce at a store is good, but picking your own sure is better! There’s nothing like connecting with the Earth by harvesting its fruits with your own hands. Kneeling down with a basket to eye up the ripest and juiciest of the bunch, getting dirty while the sun beats down on you, sneaking a couple tastes “just to make sure they’re good,” and ending the day with a sweet reward! Before you head out to the strawberry patch, check out our essential guide to picking your own strawberries.
What to Expect on the Farm
First, give your local farm a call or follow them on social media to see when they open to the public. Most farms are usually ready by late May, depending on the weather that season.
Once you know they’re open, dress for the occasion. Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. You will be out on a farm, so plan to get dirty! You might opt to wear a hat and sun protection, as well.
Most farms allow you to bring your own basket or container for collecting strawberries; however, they should have containers there for sale upon arrival. There will be personnel to direct you to an area of the field.
Once you’re out there, it’s time to start picking!
How to Find the Perfect Strawberry
Strawberries from a local farm will often look different from those you find in the grocery store, and that’s a good thing. Those strawberries were picked unripe and ripened using unnatural methods. They are also often gigantic, which means that chemical fertilizers were likely involved.
So, while picking a strawberry fresh from the plant, expect smaller berries that might be misshapen, but taste like a dream.
Pick only the red ones, and use two hands: one to hold the stem and one to pull down, keeping the hull attached to the berry. If you pull the hull off, your berries will go bad more quickly.
Once you fill up your basket, it’s time to go home and reap the rewards of your hard, yet enjoyable work!
Where to Go Strawberry Picking by Region