Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Should you be picking your strawberries this late?

Over in the UK, Wimbledon has arrived. Venus Williams has already fallen by the wayside and the tournament is really starting to hot up – unlike the British summer, which is proving wet and cool.

However, aside from the plethora of tennis stars hot-footing across the Atlantic – and the impeccably manicured lawns – to compete, there is something else that Wimbledon is famous for.

Its strawberries.

A day watching some of the greatest athletes compete on the court would not be complete without a bowl of strawberries and a dollop of fresh cream – an English staple if ever there was one.

In fact, some 30 tonnes of the delectable fruit will be picked for the competition during the next two weeks. That's five hectares of strawberry plants to harvest for each day of the tournament.

You don't have to be courtside in the UK to be enjoying the most universally loved fruit though – especially if you grow your own. But is now the best time to be plundering your strawberry bushes?

Interestingly, in the US, strawberries have come later than usual in some parts. So despite it being late in the harvest season, some growers are still picking some delicious fruit.

Dave Wilfert, owner of Wilfert Farms in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, told the Herald Times Reporter that it has been one of the most unusual years for berry production.

"As we move along into the season a little bit more, we're starting to come off with some really nice berries," he claimed.

"My recommendation to people is if you're looking for good berries, (for the next week), there's going to be some pretty good berry picking here," he told the news provider.

Strawberries are definitely one of the simplest and most fun fruits to grow and kids love them because the time from sowing to harvesting is relatively short. It is always best to plant more than necessary, as you can always thin them out.

Strawberry recipes are often unnecessary as the fruit will often be eaten before it makes it onto the kitchen counter – particularly if you only have a handful of plants.

But for those with a bit more patience, a delightful strawberry cheesecake or a classic strawberry and vanilla sponge.

The key to these is getting the fattest, juiciest and ripest strawberries. Using them soon after they are picked with minimum handling is a must.