Get the Most Out of Strawberry Picking: Tips for Reducing Food Waste

According to reports, a staggering 52.4 million tons of food is discarded and sent to landfills, while an additional 10.1 million tons are left unharvested at farms. This represents a colossal waste of resources, particularly when considering that fruits and vegetables, which are both inexpensive and highly perishable, make up over 40% of this total waste. These figures are alarming, particularly because between 31% and 40% of the U.S. food supply is wasted before it reaches consumers.

The environmental impact of food waste is equally severe. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in 2019, nearly 90% of the water footprint of lost or wasted food is attributed to cereals, pulses, fruits, and vegetables. These wasted resources accelerate environmental degradation and contribute to the unnecessary release of greenhouse gases, particularly methane, from decomposing organic material in landfills.

Our NJ Family Farm Mission

When preparing for strawberry picking season, it's crucial to have a clear idea of how many strawberries you need. This helps prevent waste and ensures you make the most out of your fresh harvest. Since freshly picked strawberries don't have the preservatives used in store-bought varieties, they won't last as long. Here are some creative and practical ways to utilize your fresh strawberries so that none go to waste:

  1. Strawberry Simple Syrup: This is a fantastic way to preserve the flavor of strawberries. You can use the syrup to make your own natural strawberry soda or add it to cocktails, lemonade, or iced tea. To make it, simply simmer equal parts water and sugar with fresh strawberries until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly. Strain to remove the fruit pieces, and your syrup is ready to use!
  2. Strawberry Jam: Making jam is a traditional and effective method to preserve strawberries. Jam can last for many months if stored properly, allowing you to enjoy the taste of fresh strawberries long after the season has ended. Use it on toast, in desserts, or even as a condiment in savory dishes.
  3. Summer Salads: Fresh strawberries can be a delightful addition to salads. Their sweet and tart flavor pairs beautifully with leafy greens, nuts, and a balsamic dressing. For a refreshing summer dish, you can combine them with other seasonal fruits and cheeses like feta or goat cheese.
  4. Homemade Fruit Rollups: This is a great way to preserve your strawberries for longer while creating a healthy candy alternative. You won't believe how simple it is to make this snack for you and your loved ones.
  5. Freezing: If you have more strawberries than you can immediately use, consider freezing them. Wash, hull, and slice the strawberries. Individually freeze the strawberries in a single layer before transferring to a freezer-safe bag. Frozen strawberries are excellent in smoothies and baked goods or thawed for use in recipes throughout the year.

Strawberry Picking for the Good of Everyone

As we face the stark realities of food waste, particularly with perishable items like fruits and vegetables, it becomes clear that each of us has a role to play in creating more sustainable food practices. Our farm is committed to providing fresh, delicious strawberries and ensuring these precious resources are utilized thoroughly and thoughtfully. We aim to foster an appreciation and deeper understanding of our food systems by connecting people with the land and the food they consume.

For more information, please visit us at our family-owned, Pick-Ur-Own strawberry farm.

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Family enjoying strawberry picking in NJ
Close-up of ripe strawberries on the vine for picking in New Jersey