One of our favourite weekend activities in summer is strawberry picking. There’s simply no comparison between a freshly picked strawberry and a store-bought one.
Where to Pick Strawberries
There are heaps of strawberry farms in Victoria. Here are some suggestions:
Cherry Hill Orchards in Yarra Valley
Nature Ripe Fruits in Bacchus Marsh
Strawberry Forest in Bacchus Marsh
Sunny Creek Organic Berry Farm in Trafalgar South
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm in Mornington Peninsula
Personally, we have been to Nature Ripe, Sunny Ridge and Strawberry Forest, and loved them all.
Strawberries Do Not Ripen After Being Picked
Be aware that strawberries do not ripen after being picked unlike most fruits. Some of the strawberries in the stores have been picked before they ripen, then treated with a fruit-ripening gas known as Ethylene. However, this process may not result in sweet strawberries. That’s the reason why a freshly picked fully red strawberry is sweeter than store-bought ones – they have fully ripened naturally with all their juicy sweetness.
Which Strawberries Should I Pick?
Strawberries that are fully ripe will turn completely red. Those are the oes which you should pick.
Berries with any patches of green, white or pink should be left on the plant to continue ripening. If picked at that stage, they may be hard and sour in taste.
How to Pick Strawberries
The fastest way to annoy the strawberry farmer is to damage strawberry plants (or worse, trample on them) when picking the fruits off.
Here’s what you need to do when picking strawberries:
Do not tug at the plants as you pull off the strawberry. You could inadvertently be pulling the plant slightly out of the soil.
Gently grasp the stem just above the strawberry with your thumb and a finger, and twist it slightly. The stem will break and the strawberry then drops into your palm.
Strawberry Picking Tips
Ring ahead of arrival or check the farmer’s Facebook page for announcements. Sometimes, the strawberries could have been picked out due to a good turn out. Other times, weather conditions can impact on strawberry yield. A few sunny days in a row is more likely to result in lots of bright red strawberries ready for picking whereas a few rainy days will mean wet ground.
Do not overfill your containers or you’ll be shocked at the bill and wonder how you could finish all the strawberries before they turn bad.
Do not try to pack the berries down and throw them into the container, as you could bruise them.
Do not wash your strawberries until you are ready to eat them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling.