Nothing can compare to the intensely sweet taste, irresistible juiciness and deep red color of an Oregon strawberry. Oregon’s moderate climate, fertile soils, and plentiful rainfall contribute to the quality of these delicious berries. Cool nights and warm sunny days allow berries to stay on the vine and ripen slowly during summer months, giving sugars adequate time to increase before harvest.
Once strawberries are ready for harvest, workers dot the beautiful green fields and carefully pick the berries by hand. Early mornings are the perfect time for harvesting strawberries when plants are cool and berries are not yet releasing their juices. There is an art to picking strawberries, as bushes are low to the ground and small berries are hard to find amongst the dense foliage surrounding them. Workers move thriftily through the fields, focusing on keeping strawberry caps intact to extend their shelf life and appeal to the consumer. Once picked, strawberries are placed into buckets and loaded onto trucks, where they are sent to be cooled by large fans and placed into a refrigerated room. Strawberries will stay in the refrigeration room until being transported to grocery stores and other processing facilities.
Fresh market berries have a short shelf life and must arrive at the grocery store right away to ensure consumers can purchase them while in perfect condition. For example, Oregon’s Hood variety, the best known Oregon strawberry, must make it to market within one day of being picked or consumers will reject it for being over ripe. The majority of Oregon strawberries are frozen as whole or sliced berries so that consumers around the world can enjoy them. Many of those berries are used in yogurt, ice cream, and baked goods. Imperfect berries will often go to making juice concentrates, jams, or syrups.
Numerous studies have shown that there are many health benefits associated with consuming strawberries. They protect the heart, increase HDL (good cholesterol), lower blood pressure and prevent cancer. Strawberries are also packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Did you know one serving of strawberries provides more vitamin C than an orange?
- Strawberry Facts:
- Strawberries are grown in all 50 states
- Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside
- A strawberry has 200 seeds on average
Visit the Oregon Strawberry Commission to learn more about Oregon strawberries.