April 25, 2022

Strawberry Season Is Here and the Berry Delicious Crops Are Ripe for Picking

​It's that time of year again… strawberry season. The juicy red fruit is abundant and fresh throughout Virginia Beach in late spring, in large part due to the city's mild climate and fertile soil. In fact, Virginia Beach is the largest strawberry producer in the commonwealth, with the value of 2021 crops estimated to be worth more than ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­$1.5 million. The long history of the berry's local popularity is even evident in the city seal, which features a wreath of strawberry leaves.

One of the best ways to enjoy the fruit is to take a short trip to the southern part of the city with a shallow bucket, basket, or bowl to pick some yourself with friends and family.

A number of local farms offer strawberry lovers u-pick options and several market stands also have just-picked fruit to grab and go, including the Virginia Beach Farmers Market located at the corner of Dam Neck Road and Princess Anne Road.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension, a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments recommends contacting each farm and farm stand to check hours and availability before visiting.

Roy Flanagan, a local farmer, and Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension Agent, advises that when picking your own:

  • Look for firm berries that have a bright red color
  • Twist and pull the stem just above the berry to snap the fruit off without damaging the plant
  • To prevent bruising, carefully place berries in a shallow container (not more than 6 inches deep)
  • Avoid overfilling containers and don't pack the berries too tightly
  • Leave the stems on until use and don't wash them until you plan to eat them to extend freshness
  • When ready to use the berries, wash them, cut off the green tops and then refrigerate

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Jina Gaines Templeton

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