Pick-your-own is a popular family tradition
It’s time to pick-your-own (PYO) Maine strawberries! The season got off to an early start this year, and we are ready! What could be better than venturing out into a sunny field to harvest this sweet fruit? Opportunities to PYO (also called “U-pick”) are available all over the state. Don’t have time to pick-your-own? That’s okay, there are still many ways to get fresh, locally picked strawberries.
How to find local berries
The most important tip for success in finding strawberries is to go early. Whether you’re planning a morning of u-pick or heading to a farm stand or farmers’ market, be aware that strawberries are a hot commodity and tend to sell out fast.
- Check the social media listing or website of your favorite farm for hours and availability.
- Remember that the weather matters! Cool weather can slow strawberries down, and hot weather means they ripen more quickly. Check with your favorite local PYO grower for availability.
- Not sure where to go? Check out some of the Real Maine members who grow strawberries!
Get the most from your pick-your-own experience
- Plan ahead. Check out the website or social media pages of your favorite PYO farms for new policies
- Pay attention to the signage and respect the rules on site.
- If anyone in your group hasn’t been feeling well within the last 24 hours, they should stay home.
- Please leave pets at home.
- Strawberry season in Maine is short, so don’t miss an opportunity to get out there and pick some goodness!
Using fresh strawberries
Strawberries are one of the most sought-after fruits grown in Maine, but the fresh berries don’t last long! Be sure to refrigerate them as quickly as possible. Bring a cooler to the farm, farmers’ market, or store to keep them cool on the way home. Most people avoid washing the berries until they are about to eat them, as this helps prevent mold. Some people prefer to wash their berries immediate in a dilute vinegar solution to prevent mold. (Read about that method here.) Besides eating fresh, strawberries are perfect for baking. And to lengthen the delight of strawberry season in Maine, consider chopping and freezing fresh berries for a winter treat!