It’s just about strawberry picking season in New Jersey and I am so here for it. I have always loved picking strawberries, but last year last year was a very special year for us to visit pick your own strawberry farms in New Jersey. After weeks of being stuck indoors and away from people, picking strawberries at the Sahl’s Father Son Farm was one of our first outdoor activities that we could feel safe doing while also having a wonderful time. I’m so glad that our state is doing well enough that families across New Jersey, like mine, can enjoy strawberry picking again.
8 Things You Need to Know BEFORE Picking Strawberries in NJ
When it comes to strawberry picking in New Jersey, I wanted you to have the BEST advice and experience so I turned to my favorite strawberry farmer, Jeremy Sahl of the Sahl’s Father Son Farm. We’ve been picking strawberries from their fields in Galloway for years. I’m so thankful Jeremy was able to answer my questions and provide our readers with some ‘berry’ good advice for strawberry picking.
Our experience combined with Jeremy’s advice will help ensure your family has the best experience picking strawberries in NJ.
In addition to our tips for picking strawberries and where to go for pick your own strawberries in New Jersey, I’m also sharing my Amazon affiliate links. These links will helpful you find the items you need and that I recommend quickly. We do participate in Amazon’s affiliate program. When you make a purchase using one of our links we earn a small commission.
What month is best for strawberry picking in NJ?
In South Jersey the end of May and beginning of June is the best time to pick strawberries. North Jersey usually follows the South Jersey ripening pattern by a week or two depending on the strawberry varieties.
When does the strawberry picking season generally start?
Strawberry season can start as early as the beginning of May and as late as the beginning of June. It all depends on when the soil warms up in the spring. Early spring means earlier strawberries. Generally, South Jersey strawberry season begins around the end of May.
How long does strawberry picking season last in NJ?
Again, depending on the weather, in South Jersey, strawberry season is usually 3-4 weeks long but can be as long as 6 weeks.
When are the best days and times to pick strawberries during the season?
The best time of day to pick strawberries is in the morning after the dew has had a chance to dry and before the sun gets too hot.
What do you wear strawberry picking?
Make sure you and the strawberry pickers in your family wear comfortable foot wear like sneakers or work shoes. Closed toe shoes are better because it does tend to be muddy or sandy between rows of strawberries.
If it’s sunny then a hat would be very helpful. Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty or sandy.
While not needed, gardening gloves can help keep your hands from getting sticky or dirty. Here’s a few we’ve discovered on Amazon.
How much does it cost to pick your own strawberries?
Fresh picked strawberries usually go for around $3.00 a pound. One quart of strawberries is roughly 2 pounds.
Do you need to bring your own strawberry container?
Most strawberry farms have a standard size container they want guests to use for picking strawberries. You may or may not be able to bring that container home. It never hurts to come prepared with your own back up container.
That being said when we visit the Sahl’s Father Son Farm to pick strawberries we usually bring one of their containers back with us and reuse it on every visit. This cuts down on waste and generally makes things easier. The Sahls Father Son Farm has a CSA program that includes pick your own strawberries during the strawberry season.
Here are a few fun and cute containers for bringing home all those strawberries you and your family picked.
- Pint Green Fiber Fruit/Berry Basket Container
- Rubbermaid FreshWorks Saver
- Hutzler Berry Containers ( I really like these. They are like the traditional pint containers, only they are made from plastic. So you can reuse them over and over.)
- The Prepworks by Progressive Berry Keeper looks pretty cool too. Get it for storing your berries once you’re back home.
How long does it take to pick a quart of strawberries?
When the strawberry plants are in full production, it can take less than 10 minutes to fill a gallon basket. As the season progresses, it takes more time to fill a basket.
4 Tips for Picking Strawberries at NJ farms
Before picking strawberries at New Jersey follow these helpful tips from Jeremy at Sahl’s Father Son Farm.
How Do You Know When A Strawberry Is Good?
Pick only fully red strawberries. You definitely don’t want strawberries that are still green but a little white on the berry is fine. Sometimes the underside of the berry that doesn’t get sun will stay white. If the bulk of the strawberry is a nice dark red, then it’s good to pick. Keep in mind that some strawberry varieties do not turn fully red even when they have reached full maturity. Ask the farmer if you are uncertain.
What’s the best way to pick strawberries from the vines?
Gently grab the stem just above the strawberry and pinch it off leaving about a half inch of stem and the hull still attached to the strawberry. If you pull the berry and leave the stem or hull on the plant, the berry becomes damaged and open to bacteria.
Damage from bruising the fruit or pulling off the hull/stem will greatly reduce the shelf life of the strawberry. Pulling off the berry without pinching may also damage the plant itself. If you yank the berry, it can pull off other berry sets that aren’t ripe yet. Pinching the stem will also save you from getting red stained fingers.
Show care to the farm
Be careful not to trample plants, but also don’t rush from one strawberry plant to the next. Clean all ripe berries off the plant before moving to the next plant. You may have to lift the leaves so see under the plant. Many times, berries go bad on the plant because they are hidden.
When a berry set goes bad, the rot can spoil the next set of berries. Strawberry plants will put out 3-4 sets per season. The cleaner we keep the plant, the more berries we can harvest from the plant and the longer we can extend our season.
It’s always a good thing to pick off any over ripe berries. You can toss them in the aisle or even feed them to our chickens or pig. This way they can’t spoil the next set and you have fun feeding the animals. I love this idea!
Since you or the kids might be at the same strawberry plant for a 5-10 minutes picking berries consider getting a stool that’s easy to carry. This gives you or the kids a comfortable spot to sit without feeling like you’re hunched over picking berries. Just be careful not to position the stool on top of any plants.
Here’s a few stools on Amazon that are easy to travel with.
The Best New Jersey Farms for Picking Your Own Strawberries
To date we’ve found # NJ farms that will be open for pick-your-own strawberries for 2021. If you know a farm that offers strawberry picking in NJ and is not listed here, please contact me at email@example.com. If you’re a strawberry farm interested in more prominent advertising with Jersey Family Fun, please contact me as well at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best You Pick Strawberry Farms In North Jersey
- 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester, NJ 07930, Morris County
The Alstede farm will open for strawberry picking in the end of May.
Stony Hill Farms
- 15 North Rd., Chester, NJ, Mercer County
The Stony Hill farm will open for strawberry picking in June.
Sussex County Strawberry Farm
- 565 Route 206 North, Andover, NJ 07821, Sussex County
The Sussex County Strawberry Farm will open for strawberry picking in June.
Peterson Family Farm
- 438 Quakertown Road, Flemington NJ 08822, Hunterdon County
- (908) 418-7578
The Peterson Family Farm will open June 4.
- 945 Black Oak Ridge Road, Wayne, NJ 07470, Passaic County
Farms View will open for strawberry picking in mid-May.
- 564 Milford-Warren Glen Rd Milford, NJ, Hunterdon County
Phillips Farms will open for strawberry picking in late May or early June.
Best You Pick Strawberry Farms In Central Jersey
- 91 Wemrock Rd., Freehold, NJ 07728, Monmouth County
The Battleview Orchards will open for strawberry picking on approximately May 17, 2021.
- 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, NJ 08540, Mercer County
The Terhune Orchards will open for strawberry picking in late May.
Lee Turkey Farm
- 201 Hickory Corner Road, East Windsor, NJ 08520, Mercer County
The Lee Turkey Farm will open for strawberry picking in June.
Von Thun’s Country Farm
- 519 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852, Middlesex County
Von Thun’s Country Farm will be open for strawberry picking in mid-May.
- 586 South Middlebush Road, Somerset, NJ 08873, Somerset County
Snyder’s Farm will be open for strawberry picking in mid-May.
- 358 Allen Road, Hackettstown, NJ 07840
Details coming soon.
Best You Pick Strawberry Farms In South Jersey
Sahl’s Father Son Farm
- 420 West Pestalozzi Street, Galloway, NJ 08215, Atlantic County
The strawberry harvest is usually the Sahl’s Father Son Farm’s first harvest of the year. They anticipate the strawberry harvest will be ready and the fields open for pick your own strawberries sometime near Mother’s Day.
Johnson’s Corner Farm
- 133 Church St., Medford, NJ 08055, Burlington County
The Johnson’s Corner Farm will open for strawberry picking around mid-May. Tentative date is May 23, 2021.
Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm
- 2691 Monmouth Rd, Jobstown, Burlington County
The Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm will open for strawberry picking on May 21, 2021.
- 870 Jacksonville-Mt. Holly Road, Springfield Township, NJ, Burlington County
- (609) 267-4445
The Specca Farms is currently open for strawberry picking.
- 280 Chapel Heights Road, Sewell, NJ 08080, Gloucester County
Duffield’s Farm has offered strawberry picking in previous years. As of April 30, 2021 there was no information on their website or Facebook page about pick your own strawberries for the 2021 season.
Hallock’s U-Pick Farm
- 38 Fischer Rd, New Egypt, NJ 08533, Ocean County
Strawberry picking is now available. Pickers are encouraged to call first to check on availability.
Walking Bird Farm
- (609) 678-4129
- 250 S Mannheim Ave., Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215, Atlantic County
The Walking Bird Farm will open for strawberry picking in mid-May.
Keep them Sweet! Myths and Advice for keeping freshly picked strawberries FRESH
Strawberries don’t continue to ripen after they are picked
True. Strawberries generally don’t get more ripe once picked. However, they might darken up a bit in color.
Do not wash the berries until you are ready to use them
False. Always wash the berries as soon as possible! Then dry them on a towel before storing them in the bottom of the refrigerator (where they are least likely to partially freeze).
I (Jeremy) usually wash mine by soaking them for about 10 minutes in a mixture of one part vinegar and up to 10 parts water. The water rinses leaves and dirt off the strawberries. The vinegar will help to sterilize bacteria and fungus living on the surface of the berry. In this way, you can extend the life of your strawberries a few more days or even up to a week.
Freeze any strawberries that you will not use right away
True. But remember that the quality of the fruit will change in the freezer. Their texture softens and the juices are drawn out. Frozen strawberries are perfect for jam, jelly, syrup, smoothies, strawberry lemonade, baking, etc.
Don’t let berries sit in sun after picking
True! Berries will not continue to ripen in the sun even though their color may change somewhat darker. It is best to keep them in a cool, dry place out of the sun to extend their life as long as possible.
- When storing your strawberries, you can place a dry paper towel at the bottom of your container to help absorb moisture and keep the berries as dry as possible.
- Remove damaged or rotting berries from the container daily to prevent rot or the spread of disease within the container.
- Never slice the strawberries until you are ready to eat them.
Why are local New Jersey strawberries better than any other strawberries?
Strawberries grown for U-pick operations are juicer and sweeter than the sturdier strawberry hybrids grown hardy enough to be shipped all around the world. This is why so many people love to go to pick your own strawberry patches in New Jersey.
The short shelf life of the local strawberry is the unavoidable price of the unbeatable sweetness and texture of a locally grown strawberry. I (Jeremy) personally call strawberries nature’s candy. However, it’s important to remember that the higher juice and sugar content and tender skin of local strawberries cause them to break down more quickly than the firmer and dryer strawberries shipped over long distances to grocery stores worldwide.
NJ Strawberry Festivals are returning in 2021!
What you need to know about Strawberry Festivals in NJ
Strawberry Festivals are coming back to New Jersey this summer! If you can’t get to the farm to pick strawberries as much as you’d like to OR your berry big strawberry fans make time for one of these New Jersey strawberry festivals.
Many NJ strawberry festivals will offer free admission. Use the money you’ve saved on tickets to support local farmers and artisans. Bring cash and bank/credit cards and put some money on your Paypal account. Be open to different methods of payments as it may differ from vendor to vendor. While some may prefer cash, others may prefer an electronic payment that reduces the chance of money having to be passed back and forth.
Bring your own bags. Vendors may not be able to offer bags. Plus it’s better on the environment to use a reusable tote. If you expect to bring home baked treats, you may want to pack a cooler, with ice packs, in the car to keep everything fresh on the ride home.
While there may not be capacity limits at outdoor festivals in New Jersey still be mindful of social distancing. Be patient while in lines and put that 6 feet of space between you and the others in line.
Also don’t forget to wear your mask.
Where are the New Jersey Strawberry Festivals?
The great thing about strawberry festivals in New Jersey is that they are happening all over New Jersey! From North Jersey to South Jersey and places in between there will be strawberry festivals. In New Jersey, we’re fortunate enough to have community strawberry festivals at community locations across New Jersey AND farm-based strawberry festivals that happen at some of the NJ strawberry farms we listed above.
North Jersey Strawberry Festivals
- Clifton Strawberry Festival
- Strawberry Festival at Alstede Farms
- Strawberry Festival at Donaldson Farms
Central New Jersey Strawberry Festivals
- Cranberry Strawberry Festival at First Presbyterian Church
- Oceanport Lion’s Club Annual Strawberry Fair
- Strawberry Festival at Von Thun’s Country Farm Market
South Jersey Strawberry Festivals
- Moorestown Presbyterian Church Strawberry Festival
- Stone Harbor St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Strawberry Festival
- West Cape May Strawberry Festival
- Johnson’s Farm Strawberry Festival
When are the Strawberry Festivals in NJ?
Coming soon dates and more details about New Jersey Strawberry Festivals.
The U Pick Strawberry Farms in NJ offer a fantastic way to spend the day outdoors with your family!
Support you local NJ strawberry farmer and keep a watch out for this year’s strawberry crop. If you blink, you might just have to wait till next year to sink you teeth into the sweetest strawberries ever picked while making the most delicious memories with your kids.
Looking for more outdoor fun in New Jersey?
Visit our guide to New Jersey Outdoor Activities you can do now!