Wondering when strawberries are in season? I was too! Now that I’ve had my own strawberry patch for a few years, I have a much better idea of when strawberries will ripen.
June is the peak strawberry season in North America. The strawberry harvest lasts for about a month, just as spring turns into summer. Many popular varieties are even called “June-Bearing” strawberries! Southern growing areas may start the strawberry harvest in May, while peak season may extend into July in northern climates. While the strawberry harvest subsides in summer, some varieties of strawberries do produce berries right up until frost arrives in mid-autumn.
There is a lot to learn about when strawberries are in season and how best to use and preserve the berry harvest. Read on to learn all about making the most of strawberry season.
June is strawberry season
June is strawberry season! It’s almost impossible to go to a farmers market in June and not happen upon the most lovely flats of bright red luscious berries.
Many varieties of strawberries put on the majority of their crop in spring, and are referred to as “June-Bearing” types. June-bearing strawberries are the most popular category of strawberries grown in North America. These types grow buds in the fall which then flower and mature into berries during the following spring. Here are some June-bearing types of strawberries:
While there is a whole category of June-bearing strawberries, there is some variation in ripening time between varieties. Some types tend to ripen a week or two before others. Peak strawberry harvest lasts about a month overall. Some of the best-tasting varieties of June-bearing strawberries, divided by sub-season, are:
Mix a few different types of strawberries in your garden to lengthen your peak strawberry harvest season! Many u-pick vendors plan and plant their varieties with season extension in mind.
“June is without doubt strawberry month. Few things signal the first day of summer more perfectly than a bowl of strawberries and cream. Check plants daily so you can pick the berries when they are perfectly ripe and at their sweetest and juiciest.”Kitchen Garden: A Month-by-Month Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables, by Alan Buckingham
There is, of course, some variation in peak season in different climates. The peak season for June-bearing strawberry types may occur as soon as late April or early May in the southern states. The harvest in northern states and Canada can occur several months later, generally starting in mid-June and lasting into July.
Ever-bearing & day-neutral strawberries
Some types of strawberries can be harvested outside of peak season. These categories are referred to as either ever-bearing or day-neutral strawberries. Strawberries grow on these plants throughout the season as the plant puts on new buds and flowers. Ever-bearing & day-neutral strawberries are most common in limited-space settings such as city gardens and urban farms because the plants do not make as many runners as June-bearing strawberries.
Here are some tasty types of ever-bearing & day-neutral strawberries to harvest all summer and into autumn:
- Mara des Bois: small/medium day-neutral strawberry with excellent flavor
- Ozark Beauty
- Fort Laramie
- Alpine Strawberries: tiny wild strawberries with sweet, gourmet flavor
- Quinault Strawberry
- Seascape Strawberry
- Eversweet Strawberry
“Ripening strawberries can be pampered with a bed of fresh straw. It will protect them from getting dirtied by rain splashing up from wet soil and may also help deter slugs.”Kitchen Garden: A Month-by-Month Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables, by Alan Buckingham
Shipping and importing strawberries
Strawberries can be harvested in California almost all year. Some California strawberries are picked in January, and the harvest can last until November. Strawberries sold in December are generally imported from Mexico or South America.
“Strawberries are a wonderful seasonal crop. They are best eaten fresh and straight from the garden. They can be preserved in jam but don’t do well in the freezer.”Italian Kitchen Garden, by Sarah Fraser