Have you ever been disappointed by an out-of-season strawberry?
It can be exciting to see strawberries in the shops in early March, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be enjoying fresh and juicy fruit.
These out-of-season strawberries can be disappointingly bland.
The peak strawberry season in North America tends to fall around May and June.
However, strawberries can be harvested from February through to November, depending on what part of the country you live in and the local climate!
With so many different seasons and peak times, understanding the strawberry season can be a little difficult.
In this guide, I’ll take a look at the different times you can expect strawberries to ripen and why it’s worth learning about your local strawberry season.
Strawberries are grown across the U.S., from the tip of Florida, up both the West Coast and the East Coast, to the Deep South, and north to Canada.
Of course, you’ll get better results in some parts of the country than others, but this hardy plant can tolerate different conditions.
But because strawberries are so widely grown, the strawberry season in the U.S. is hard to pin down.
It can potentially run from January all the way to November. However, strawberries harvested in colder months tend to lack the juicy sweetness of a spring or summer fruit.
Head to Florida, and you might be able to start picking strawberries as early as February.
The state’s main strawberry season hits a little later, around March, but you can expect strawberries from early on in the year.
In the Deep South, the strawberry season starts as the Florida season winds down. From April through May, you can expect strawberries to come into season.
But the majority of the strawberry season occurs from June onwards. Across the majority of North America, you can find strawberries at their best through June and into early July.
Different types of strawberries ripen throughout June, so the season can last for the full month with clever planting.
Carry on North, and the strawberry season comes a little later. You can expect these colder-climate strawberries to be harvested in July and early August.
By the end of summer, strawberry season is largely over. However, there are a few varieties that can be harvested outside the peak season.
Although, these late-harvested strawberries can lack the juicy sweetness of their summer equivalents.
What Month Is Best For Strawberries?
May and June are typically considered to be the best month for strawberries.
Many strawberry varieties are even known as “June-Bearing”, thanks to their tendency to be at their best in June.
May 20th is National Pick Strawberries Day! That’s when we’re encouraged to head to our nearest pick-your-own farm and see what’s ready to be harvested!
States in the middle and Deep South are likely to be at their best during this time.
Start Picking When The Season Starts!
The strawberry season might last for a long time across the country, but in your local area, it’s likely to pass by very quickly!
The harvest season can last for only two or three weeks once the first strawberries have ripened.
If you want to go strawberry picking, pay attention to your local PYO farms.
They will probably advertise a pick-your-own event a few days before it occurs. Try and get there as soon as possible, so you have access to all the best strawberries.
Why You Should Choose Fresh Strawberries Over Imported Strawberries
Paying attention to when the strawberries are in season ensures you get to enjoy the fruit at its best.
Strawberries that are fresh, ripe, and locally picked will have the most juice, the best flavor, and the perfect texture.
A strawberry stops ripening once it’s been picked. If you’ve picked a strawberry before it’s ripe, it will stay slightly hard and lack a juicy and soft texture.
However, under-ripe strawberries are easy to transport. They’re less likely to get bumped and bruised as they travel.
For that reason, many imported strawberries are sold when they’re not quite ripe. You can tell by their firm texture and patches of white.
But strawberries that have been picked locally don’t have to travel. So, the farmer can wait until they’re perfectly ripe before picking.
You’ll get a luscious red strawberry that’s perfectly sweet, has only a touch of tartness, and is absolutely delicious.
How To Recognize A Ripe Strawberry
Whether you’re looking in-store or heading to a pick-your-own farm, you need to know what a good strawberry looks like.
- Check the color of the strawberry all over. A ripe strawberry is a deep red, with no patches of green or white.
- The color should be consistent and glossy. A good strawberry should have no blemishes.
- Don’t be afraid to get your hands involved! A ripe strawberry is medium firm, not too hard but not too soft. If it feels hard, it’s under-ripe. If it’s soft, it’s over-ripe.
- Use your sense of smell as well! Ripe strawberries should have a distinct strawberry flavor.
If you’re picking strawberries, check the stems. They should be a vivid green with no mold.
The peak of the strawberry season tends to fall between May and June, but it depends on what part of the country you live in!
In North America, the strawberry season can last from February all the way to November.
If you want to enjoy the best strawberries, you should always shop local. As the strawberries have less distance to travel, they can be harvested when they’re plump and juicy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Strawberry season in California typically lasts from March to August, with the peak time hitting in May and June. Some farms in California also produce off-season strawberries, although these can lack the dazzle of the peak season fruit.
Yes, you can buy strawberries out of season, but they aren’t as good as strawberries bought locally in season. Out-of-season strawberries need to be imported, so they tend to be picked when they’re under-ripe. This means they’re firmer and less juicy.