An Oregon summer would hardly be complete without its deep red, intense, naturally sweet strawberries. What makes them so red and juicy with that uniquely Oregon taste? The people, the land, and the climate all play their part. Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom teaches that strawberries have grown wild in Oregon throughout history. Native Americans were gathering and using the berries before commercial farming ever started in the state.
Oregon Strawberry Commission shares that Oregon’s oceanic climate is integral to the agricultural berry bounty. Oregon has a long mild spring and early summer with lots of rain, and cool nights, followed by plenty of warm, dry sunny days.
As they grow, the berries stay on the plants and ripen slowly, allowing the sugars to increase before being picked at exactly the right time. These ripe, luscious berries are harvested by hand to keep them as perfect as possible as they make their way to you.
There are many different strawberry varieties grown in Oregon. They come in different sizes, textures, and levels of sweetness. Hood, Mary's Peak, Shuksan, Tillamook to name a few, but there are many more for you to discover out in your local community farmers markets, farm stands, u-pick farms and grocery stores.
Strawberries are planted as bare root plants, not seeds. They are usually planted in the spring. New plantings typically won’t grow a crop to be harvested until the next summer. Learn more about the individual varieties of Oregon strawberries.
What are the health benefits of strawberries?
Strawberries taste so good and are so good for you! Due to their high water content, they are good hydrators. According to the Oregon Strawberry Commission, they are a good source of fiber and many antioxidants like Vitamin C and flavonoids that are boosters for the immune system, skin health and eye health. They even have what is considered "brain boosting" potassium. Learn more details about the health benefits of strawberries here.
How much of a strawberry is water?
Strawberries are 91% water.
How many states in the United States grow strawberries?
Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States.
Which state grows the most strawberries?
California. Oregon is third after California and Florida.
DRAPER GIRLS COUNTRY FARM
Working in her parents’ Hood River Valley orchard as a child, Theresa Draper always knew she wanted to continue the family farm for her own livelihood. She and her then-husband bought half of her parents’ property while Theresa was in her early twenties and dove into the project, removing some of the old apple and pear trees to diversify their offerings and launching the farm into a U-pick roadside attraction.
Theresa now directs all the farm operations herself, with the help of her three daughters, a small staff and seasonal workers. The forty-acre property sits along highway 35 near the town of Parkdale, Oregon where, on a clear day, it feels like front row seats to a panorama of Mt. Hood. The orchards now host a plethora of fruit, including strawberries, cherries, cane berries, blueberries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, and plums.
U-pick is at the heart of the Draper Girls’ business. Each June they open up most of their farm and allow visitors to roam, harvesting whatever fruit they fancy in mixed buckets, enjoying the shade of an orchard tree, a picnic by the farm stand, or just the pleasure of rambling through a field. Theresa enjoys watching visitors experience the farm, learning where their food comes from and perhaps encountering their first taste of truly fresh fruit. She’s found that her customers are quickly seduced by the bounty of a ripe orchard.
This 2022 season, Draper will start u-pick cherries in mid July. They also make non-pasteurized ciders and award winning hard ciders. Farmer Theresa suggests sitting in the farm yard area and enjoying a glass of hard cider while visiting the goats, or taking a growler to go. U-pick peaches start in mid August and u-pick apples and pears mid September through the end of October. U-cut flowers in August too!
Find Berry Growers Near You
OregonTaste.com is an online searchable directory promoting Oregon’s local farm fresh food growers, makers and sellers in our bountiful state. Connecting them directly with consumers is a public service designed to contribute to more vibrant, sustainable and connected food systems throughout Oregon.
If you don't see your favorite Oregon farms, ranches, fisheries, u-picks or farmers markets on OregonTaste.com, submit them here. Anyone can submit a fresh food producer, it's fast, free and easy and helps connect communities through food!