Innovations in strawberry plant varieties have made berries less fragile to survive to ship and extended the growing season. Strawberries have a short growing season in temperate states, but warm climates in California and Florida allow production for months a year.
April, May, and June are still the peak harvest months. Technically, the strawberry is a perennial , but at commercial farms, it is planted as an annual , with new plants introduced each year.
How To Grow
Want farm-fresh fruit? We've got you covered. Everyone loves strawberries, including pests and fungi. Strawberries are fragile fruits that grow close to the ground and are vulnerable to penetration by bugs, molds, and disease. In warm climates, commercial farmers have strawberries growing in the same fields most of the year, year after year, so pathogens become a major problem. The field is covered in a tarp, and the soil underneath is gassed to kill any pathogens. This leaves the soil sterile so it must be fertilized as well. The main pesticide used to fumigate strawberry fields is Methyl Bromide , ozone-depleting chemical compound, that has also been found to cause cancer and birth defects.
While it was banned from common commercial use in as part of the U. The proposed replacement is Methyl Iodide.
Although it received FDA approval and was approved for restricted use in California in , Methyl Iodide is still reviled by many independent agencies and scientists, including five Nobel laureates, for its deleterious effects on health and environment. The Pesticide Action Network and environmentally concerned citizens are seeking the revocation of Methyl Iodide. Don some comfy clothes and head east to find berry farms.
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U-pick berries can be yours for the taking and a little cash , if the weather gods align. A: And how? While many Americans associate strawberries with California, Florida is the capital of winter strawberry production. So while the berries you buy during the summer may come from California, during winter, many available strawberries hail from Florida. Of course, not all berries sold in the U.
A: Generally Florida's strawberries are ripe and ready for picking between the months of December and March. Sometimes the season stretches into April. However, weather plays a major role in the quality and size of each year's crop, so the exact length of the picking season varies from year to year.
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A: Most of the state's berries yield from the appropriately named Plant City and its surrounding area. Plant City is located about 25 miles east of Tampa, and about 60 miles southwest of Orlando. However, some other small farms throughout the state also grow and sell strawberries. A: Yes. However, because Florida's farms are a major source of winter strawberries across the United States, their focus is primarily on commercial operations.
Strawberries: overcoming the stumbling blocks
Basically, their big commercial customers come first, and individuals who want to pick berries come second. That means that the U-pick farms generally don't open to individuals until the end of the growing season, usually in March. And because weather is such a major factor in the success of each year's yield, during tough growing years there may not be many great berries left by the time you get there. Prepare for slim pickings. By diversifying the varieties and by putting on row covers to give the strawberry plants a little extra warmth in the spring, farmers now have a longer season.
Row covers can add an extra seven days to the season and bring plants into production even earlier.
Have you heard of the Dirty Dozen? Strawberries often rank highest on the list, but scientists around the world have debunked the Dirty Dozen list. Health Canada is responsible for ensuring all pesticides are safe for both people and the environment, whether they used for conventional or organic production.
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This includes taking into account pesticide residues on food. Science has become so precise that residues can be measured in parts per billion. According to an online pesticide residue calculator, safefruitsandveggies. So, whether you buy conventionally grown or organically grown strawberries, just focus on eating more fruits and vegetables.
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How Do Strawberries Grow? Exploring Strawberry Fields. Sign Up and Stay in Touch. Consumer Farmer work in agriculture. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Search Search this website.