How to know when it's the best time of year to buy strawberries. Includes a look at when strawberry prices are the cheapest.
There are a lot of things available to us year round that never were in the past.
Now there are a lot of things year round that I wish remained in our past. One of those things is strawberries.
Wait, what you want to take away from strawberries, how dare you!
Hold on, hear me out here.
There was a time when spring time hit and it was time to get your strawberries before they were gone.
Nowadays whether it's the Fourth of July or a cold winter's day, strawberries will be there, at any grocery store in any state.
Flavor has long been compromised in the name of cost, transport-ability, and constant supply. Most strawberries consumed nowadays are not done so at their peak of flavor.
Just because they are around all the time, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't still plan on strawberry purchases. Even thought they are available year round, it doesn't mean the prices are the same year round.
In fact, strawberries are sort of like the stock market. There are highs and lows. You need to know when to invest them and when to sell.
When Is the Best Season to Buy Strawberries?
My answer is winter.
Reason, it's all about supply. There are times of year where they are way more strawberries available. This leads to smaller prices and best of all sales! Mid to late winter (February-March) is when the supply is usually the highest.
If you thought strawberries are a summer fruit, that's simply not the case.
Why are Strawberries Cheaper in the Winter?
This is because the supply of strawberries from California is on the rise and Florida strawberry season is also at peak and Mexico is in the mix as well.
Florida doesn't provide strawberries year round like California just about does. It's too hot there. When they are available I find them to in general be better than California's. Might help that I live closer to Florida so reduce shipping time.
At this time you can often find strawberries going for as low as $1 for a 1 lb container. The later the Florida season lasts and the earlier the California season begins the better situation for consumers.
There will also be period during the late spring and summer were prices will be good. They are a little bit harder to predict. That time of year it's all about where in California they are harvesting and how much is being produced. Deals can be found around holidays (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day) to help entice customers into the stores.
Your Local Season
If we are talking most flavorful time of the year, then it's all about when are they are in season in your local area (that would be June here in Michigan).
Strawberries are among the most grown fruit available at local farmer's markets. You have to go directly to the farmer to get them as few stores carrying them and when they do they are pricey.
To really save money on them you must pick them yourself. Most u-pick strawberry places here in Michigan charge close to $2 a pound to pick yourself. A quick Google search should help you locate the nearest u-pick strawberry patch in your area. Let me know if you need any help.
Here is a list by state of when local strawberries season begins. The weather will dedicate how early or how late the season begins and how long it lasts. The season is short. Here in Michigan it rarely goes beyond 3 weeks.
|North Carolina||early May|
|South Carolina||mid April|
|New Jersey||mid May|
|New York||early June|
|New Mexico||early March|
Learn more about when different fruits and vegetables are in season.
Greenhouse Grown Strawberries
One change that has happened to the strawberry industry over the last decade is the introduction of greenhouse grown strawberries with Sunset leading the way. Their WOW berries are incredible, better than any strawberry that I didn't pick myself.
These berries are showing up in the late fall and are available throughout the winter. They do cost more, but are worth it for their way better flavor.
Worst Time of Year to Buy Strawberries
Right before strawberries are their best prices, they are at their worst.
Don't buy them to be apart of your Christmas celebration. At that time strawberries are hard to come by out of California, so they are coming from Mexico and the supply is low and flavor is usually not good either.
I have a hard time paying $4 to $5 per pound for something I was buying for under $2 a pound earlier in the year. Your better off buying frozen or if you were forward thinking you froze some earlier when prices were cheaper.