Virginia Strawberry Picking Season at its Peak
WCVE Public Radio’s Charles Fishburne reports that the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it is peak strawberry picking time in the state. During the Memorial Day weekend, visitors were “picking their own,” at Seaman’s Orchards in Nelson County.
Virginia has about 250 acres of strawberry fields that produce up to 18 thousand pounds per acre. Crops are ready at various times depending on which part of the state you are located. Visit Virginia Grown to see what is ripe for picking where you live.
Strawberry Picking Tips:
- Pick only the berries that are fully red. Unripe or green berries will not ripen once picked.
- To pick a berry from the vine, grasp the stem just above the berry between the forefinger and the thumbnail and pull with a slight twisting motion.
- Prevent bruising by carefully placing - not throwing - the fruit into your containers.
- Do not to overfill your containers by packing the berries down.
- For fresher fruit, try picking in the early morning or on cooler, cloudy days. Berries picked during the heat of the day become soft and are easily bruised and will not keep well.
- After picking, avoid placing the berries in the sunshine any longer than necessary. Cool them as soon as possible.
- Strawberries quickly mold when left at room temperature and only last a couple of days in the refrigerator, so try not to harvest more than you can use.
- Do not wash the berries until you are ready to consume or use them.
- If you don't use the berries right away, it is possible to freeze them. Start by washing the berries. Then cut the stem tops off and place the berries into a ziplock bag, removing as much air as possible. The berries will keep for a few months when frozen and vacuum sealed.