Fresh Picked or Store Bought Fruit? Which is Better Tasting and Healthier for You?

Are You Ready for Strawberry Picking Season in NJ?

The allure of strawberry season is undeniable, offering a fresh, flavorful bounty that many eagerly anticipate each year. In the Northeast United States, including New Jersey, this period marks a seasonal change and a vibrant cultural and culinary shift celebrated by many. However, the journey from farm to table varies significantly, depending on whether these strawberries are shipped across distances or picked directly by consumers. This difference profoundly impacts everything from nutritional value to the very experience of consuming strawberries. Let's delve deeper into these aspects, beginning with the timing of strawberry season in the Northeast.


When is Strawberry Season in the Northeast United States (New Jersey)?

In the Northeast United States, particularly New Jersey, strawberry season typically unfolds from late May through early June. This window provides the optimal climate conditions for strawberries to flourish, yielding the freshest and most flavorful fruits. During this period, local farms often invite visitors to pick, capitalizing on the peak ripeness and abundant harvest.


What Happens to Fruit When Being Transported?

The General Process and Impact on Fruits

When fruits are transported, especially over long distances, they undergo a series of changes that can affect their nutritional value and taste. The transportation process often requires fruits to be picked before they reach full ripeness, allowing them time to mature during transit. While this method helps prevent spoilage, it also means that the fruits might develop a partial spectrum of flavors and nutrients they would not when the plant ripened.


The controlled environments used to transport fruits attempt to slow down respiration rates and delay ripening, but these conditions can also lead to a decrease in vitamin content over time. Additionally, the physical handling and the environment within shipping containers can contribute to bruising and further quality degradation.

Specifics Regarding Strawberries

Strawberries are particularly vulnerable during transport due to their soft exterior and high respiration rate. These factors make strawberries highly perishable and susceptible to bruising, promoting fungal growth and decay. The nutritional impact includes the potential loss of vitamin C and other antioxidants, crucial for their health benefits and flavor. Transported strawberries may lose some nutritional value and vibrant taste and aroma, making the freshly picked strawberries vastly superior in taste and nutritional content.

Benefits of Picking Your Fruits and Strawberries

  • Peak Freshness and Nutrition: Picking strawberries directly from the plant ensures you get the fruits at their peak ripeness, translating to maximum flavor, vitamins, and antioxidants.
  • Physical Activity: Spending time in strawberry fields can be a source of gentle physical exercise, contributing to overall health and well-being.
  • Connection to Food Source: Picking your fruits fosters a closer connection to your food sources, offering insight into the agricultural process and appreciation for the labor involved.
  • Environmental Impact: By picking locally, you're likely reducing your carbon footprint compared to consuming fruits shipped from afar.
  • Family Activity: Strawberry picking can be a fun, educational activity for families. It teaches children about where their food comes from while creating lasting memories.

Contrasts Between Shipped and Picked Strawberries

Let's look closer at what separates strawberries that have been shipped and those you pick straight from the field. This chart breaks down everything from how fresh they stay and what they pack in terms of good stuff like vitamins to how they taste. Plus, we're looking at what each option means for the planet and what kind of experience you're signing up for when you choose one over the other. Whether it's the convenience of grabbing a pack from the store or the adventure of harvesting your own, here's what you need to know about your strawberries.

Aspect Shipped Strawberries Picked Strawberries
Freshness May lose freshness during transport Maximum freshness
Nutritional Value Potential loss of vitamins Higher vitamin content
Taste It may not develop full flavor Full, vibrant flavor
Environmental Impact Higher due to transportation Lower, mainly if local
Experience Convenience of supermarkets Hands-on, enjoyable picking experience

Hopefully, all this information has shown you the value of taking a day or more to go and get your strawberries from a local farm (hopefully ours). Not only will you get better-tasting and more nutritious fruit, but you will also be creating memories, which cannot be said for shopping at a supermarket. Trust Peterson Family Farm for the Best Strawberry picking NJ has to offer.

Best Strawberry Picking in New Jersey

Stay tuned. Next month, we will highlight tips to help prepare for the Strawberry season. Until then, take care of yourself and your loved ones.


For more on the science behind shipping fruit and what happens during the process, we encourage you to check out this article put out by the University of California (Davis) and written by Dianne M. Bennett

We encourage you to check out our other posts for more information on picking strawberries and our family farm.

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Picking Strawberries in New Jersey 
  2. Celebrate the Return of Fresh Strawberries with these Recipes

For more information don't hesitate to reach out today!