Summer Strawberry Picking Guide For Outdoor-Loving Families

By Emily Leikam on September 13, 2023

Step aside, grocery store strawberries!

There’s truly nothing like the juicy, flavorful sweetness of a fresh-picked berry. If you don’t have a green thumb or space in your yard for a garden, the next best thing is to visit a local pick-your-own strawberry farm for the best-tasting fruit straight from the ground.

Strawberry picking is also a great family-fun activity to enjoy with the kids on a beautiful summer morning - as long as more berries end up in the bucket than in their mouths!

Check out the guide below for tips on how to have an enjoyable and rewarding experience on a u-pick farm with your family.

When Is Strawberry Picking Season?

Clearly, summertime is the best time to pick strawberries. However, if you’re wondering what month is best for strawberry picking in your specific area, you should always check with your local u-pick farms before deciding to take the family out.

Peak picking times vary regionally and weather conditions can also affect growth and production, as well.

Typically, the months of April, May, and June are considered the strawberry season - that's also when most varieties are available to pick.

Peak harvest seasons throughout the country consist of:

  • April - parts of Texas and Florida
  • May - most southern states
  • Early June - middle states
  • Late June - northern states
person holding red strawberries
June-bearing strawberries extend into mid-June, late June and early July. Photo by Roman Kraft.

Why Should You Pick Your Own Strawberries?

There are several reasons why you should get outside with your family this summer and pick your own strawberries. First of all, you are helping your local small farmer by picking and purchasing their fresh produce. Plus, they can offer educational advice and share their knowledge of the plants they grow. 

Secondly, commercially-grown strawberries contain pesticides and other chemicals (sometimes in significant amounts). In fact, commercial strawberries consistently make the infamous “dirty dozen” list each year. This is a list of the 12 most contaminated common foods.

By going strawberry picking at a local u-pick farm, you are able to inquire about their agricultural practices. Usually, local strawberry farms use much fewer chemicals and some are even offering organically grown strawberries for picking. Besides, fresh strawberries straight off the farm just look and taste so much better.

Last, and the best reason for picking your own strawberries, is the fun experience you and your kids will have together outside. Especially since you’ll have such a sweet reward to bring home after you’re done!

boy in gray shirt holding white plastic bucket with strawberries
Picking your own fruit is a fun and rewarding activity for the whole family. Pictured in Kissimmee, FL by Mick Haupt.

How Do You Prepare For Strawberry Picking?

Although strawberry picking isn’t that difficult, there is some planning you should do before packing the kiddos in the car. This will ensure that your experience is as fun as possible.

Contact The Farm

Call ahead the farm you are planning to pick at to ensure that there are ample strawberries available. This will save you lots of valuable time, as not all u-pick farms are open daily, even in the strawberry season.

Keep in mind that the weather and the number of pickers that day will affect your experience greatly. If the weather hasn’t been cooperating, there may not be a great crop to pick from.

Also, if the crop is great, there may be a large crowd of pickers who have already gone through and cleared the field that day.

Know How Many Strawberries You’ll Need

Before you go, try to determine how you will be using your fresh-picked strawberries. Will you be making preserves? Are you baking a pie? Do you need delicious berries for a shortcake or to spoon over ice cream? Try to estimate what you will need and plan accordingly.

Bring What You Need For Picking

Most u-pick farms offer containers for berry picking, but they will also charge you extra for these. To avoid this, you can easily bring any sturdy container you have at home.

strawberries in blue baskets
Pack your strawberries into a basket, box or a plastic container. Photo by Farsai Chaikulngamdee.

This may include:

  • Small cardboard boxes 
  • Aluminum baking pans
  • Large plastic containers (typically used for leftovers)
  • Plastic gallon ice cream container

Also, since strawberry plants are low-growing (making them more fun for kids to pick from), you may want to bring knee pads or garden cushions if you plan on sitting or kneeling while picking.

Plan For The Weather

It’s always nice when you have a sunny, warm day for picking strawberries. Make sure everyone has a hat, sunscreen, and a bottle of water. The water will serve to keep you hydrated as well as to wash sticky, strawberry-eating fingers.

One thing to remember, if the weather doesn’t cooperate or the farm has limited capacity on the day you choose to go, you can always grab pre-picked strawberries at the farm itself or at your local farmer’s market. You may not get to experience the activity, but you’ll still get to experience the flavors of farm-fresh produce.

What To Wear For Strawberry Picking?

Plan on wearing loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that will wick sweat and keep you protected from the sun. Remember that both you and the kids will get stained by the strawberry juice very quickly, so it's best to pick a lightweight shirt and capris you can easily wash.

Sun hats are a must-have as you'll be out in the open field. It's a good idea to get a wide-brimmed sun hat as your head will be bent down, exposing the neck directly to the sun.

woman in KÜHL Inara shirt and KÜHL Sun Blade Hat in the outdoors
A wide-brimmed sun hat and a lightweight, sun-protective shirt are a great combination for a day in the strawberry field. Products shown: Inara™ SS, Sun Blade™ Hat.

About the shoes, sandals aren't really a good idea as you'll keep stepping into mud and strawberries. Wear some old shoes with closed toes, or even hiking shoes that are mud and thorns resistant.

How Do You Pick Strawberries?

Strawberry picking is not too difficult, but here are some tips to help you walk away with the most “undamaged” berries.

  1. Grab the ripe strawberry by its stem. 
  2. With your thumb and index finger, slightly twist the stem and the berry will fall from the plant and into your hand. 
  3. Try not to grab the fruit itself, as you risk squishing it. 
  4. Gently place the strawberry into your container.
  5. Repeat until your container is full (being careful not to pack them too tightly) or you get tired.

How Do You Tell If Strawberries Are Ripe?

Unlike tomatoes and peaches, strawberries stop ripening the moment they are picked. So, it is important to choose the plumpest, firmest, and most red berries you can find.

The berries will vary in size and shape, but the best way to tell if a strawberry is ripe and ready to be picked is to look at its tip. If the tip is completely red, then you will know you are getting the best and sweetest strawberry.

Do not choose strawberries with white tips or ones that aren’t uniformly deep red in color.

red and green strawberries on a plant
You can tell that the fruit is ripe by checking if the tip is red. Photo by Oliver Hale.

How Do You Find A Strawberry Farm Near You?

It shouldn’t be a problem finding a u-pick strawberry farm in your area. Today, it’s as simple as searching the internet for a location near you. 

When you go picking, just remember to be courteous to both the farm owners and the other patrons. If you bring the kiddos out for a fun day of romping around the strawberry fields, make sure it is a respectful romp. Take care not to get in another picker’s space or to step all over the plants, as they can easily be damaged.

Also, keep snacking to a minimum. It’s so hard to resist, but you are eating into (literally) the farmer’s profits and limiting other people’s chances at filling their containers.

How Do You Care For Your Picked Strawberries?

With the smell of fresh strawberries permeating through the car making it so hard to resist, hopefully, you arrived home with a bountiful of berries. Once home, make sure to sort through them and throw away any rotten ones.

As soon as possible, chill the rest of the unwashed produce in the refrigerator until ready to use. Washing them will speed up the spoiling process.

Be sure to eat fresh strawberries within a day or two, or they will go bad. If you find that you picked more than you will use or eat in a few days, you can always freeze them for later use. Just simply wash, cut the green caps off, place them in a freezer bag or container and freeze.

Frozen strawberries are awesome in homemade smoothies!

strawberries in bowl
Quick strawberry jam made from fresh strawberries can last up to two weeks. Photo by Lucinda Hershberger.

Quick Refrigerator Strawberry Jam

A great recipe to try with your freshly picked berries is Quick Refrigerator Strawberry Jam. You don’t need any canning equipment or special techniques, just a pot, and a storage container. 


  • 1-quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently and mashing berries slightly as the mixture cooks.
  2. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the jam firms up.
  3. Transfer to a clean container and cool completely.
  4. Cover and refrigerate. The jam will last up to two weeks refrigerated.

Have A Berry Good Time Strawberry Picking With KÜHL

Strawberry picking is a fun family activity for the summer. It gets the kids outside, it doesn’t take too long and there’s a sweet little reward to enjoy as a result. Actually, there is a bucket, or box or pail full of sweet little rewards! Visit KÜHL online shop and pick out the best sun-protective summer styles for a road trip to a strawberry farm!

Featured Image By Paige Cody.

Emily Leikam
Emily Leikam

Emily is an avid traveler and has been all around the world from Alaska and Iceland to Peru and Bali. Her home base is Nashville, TN and when not traveling you can find her hiking, practicing yoga or cooking/baking!


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