When Are Strawberries in Season in CA? Answers And More From CA Strawberry Farmers

This is a sponsored post created in partnership with CA Strawberries

When are strawberries in season in CA? Are strawberries sustainable? Should I choose organic strawberries? Are strawberries grown ethically? 

These are natural questions about how our crops fit into our food system.

I recently had the opportunity to visit a strawberry farm in Santa Maria, CA. I learned so much about strawberry farms, and it turned me into a strawberry super-fan! 

If you’re curious about how strawberries are grown, this blog post is for you! We’ll answer common questions about strawberry farming and connect them to my personal favorite topic: Latino health!

Let’s jump in!

strawberry varieties in hand

When are Strawberries in Season in CA?

I was surprised to learn California strawberries are grown and harvested year-round! However, the peak strawberry season in California runs from spring to early fall. 

How CA Strawberry Farmers Promote Sustainability

On my tour of Golden State Farms in Santa Maria, CA I learned how our California strawberry growers promote sustainability. 

The biggest question people have about sustainable agriculture is usually about organic vs conventional. The California strawberry growers showed me some ways conventional farms use sustainable practices.

The strawberry growers use row covers to help use less water. They use manual weeding, instead of herbicides. They introduce beneficial insects, such as ladybugs. They also plant tall plants, like cilantro, at the end of rows to reduce dust.

My favorite sustainable practice had to be the bugvac, though! This machine removes harmful insects that can destroy strawberry plants without pesticides!

90% of strawberries sold in the U.S. come from around 300 family-owned farms. These farms likely use the same techniques for growing strawberries as those sold in local supermarkets. So you can rest assured the strawberries you eat are using sustainable practices! 

rows of strawberry plants with tall grasses planted at the end

Tall grasses are planted at the ends of strawberry rows to protect the strawberries from dust.

Plastic row covers conserve water.

Do I have to buy organic strawberries?

While California grows more organic strawberries than anywhere else in the world, you don’t have to buy organic to enjoy the benefits of California strawberries. 

There’s no evidence to suggest that organic strawberries are more nutritious than conventional strawberries. And as we discussed above, conventional strawberry farms in California use many organic practices. 

CA Strawberries and Latino Health

There’s no question strawberries are a nutritious fruit. Just 1 cup of fresh strawberries provides 95% of your daily vitamin C (1).

Additionally, research suggests eating strawberries may help reduce blood sugar levels (2). This is important for Latinos because we are at higher risk for conditions like pre-diabetes and diabetes (3). 

The Crop of Opportunity

Not only can strawberries support our physical health, strawberries are also good for the health of our community! Since almost two-thirds of California strawberry growers are Latino, our community is affected by the business practices of strawberry farms.

The Golden-State Farm is Latino-owned, and a perfect example of how strawberries create opportunity for Latinos! I spoke with Mayra Paniagua at Golden State Farms to learn more!

Mayra told me she’s been picking strawberries for as long as she can remember! Her family started as strawberry pickers and now the Paniagua family owns a strawberry farm! And this story is not unique: almost half of California’s strawberry farmers started out working in the field. 

Strawberries provide a unique opportunity for Latino farmworkers because of fair pay and other ethical business practices. This allows California strawberry growers to invest in their community and create jobs. 

CA strawberry growers sharing their story

The Paniagua family sharing their story with California strawberries.

My Takeaways from the Farm

What struck me the most about the strawberry farm is how much individual care and attention each strawberry plant gets. 

Families like the Paniagua family are out there planting, weeding, and picking strawberries by hand. And these are the same strawberries that wind up on your kitchen table!

As a Latina dietitian, I was happy to see how strawberry farms support the local Latino community in California. Not only are the strawberries themselves healthy, but the strawberry farms help create opportunity for our community. 


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