FRENCHTOWN, N.J. – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture today visited Bonacorsi’s Family Farm in Frenchtown in Hunterdon County to highlight the Jersey Fresh strawberry picking season.
“Jersey Fresh strawberries can be picked ripe and ready to consume as their taste is second to none,” NJDA Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “The strawberry season is a short one, so I encourage everyone to enjoy this sweet fruit while it lasts as more Jersey Fresh produce becomes available in the days and weeks to follow.”
Plump, juicy, and delicious Jersey Fresh strawberries are available now at community farmers markets, local farm stands and pick-your-own farms around the state. Harvesting of the popular spring crop began in early-May and should continue through June. While the southern sections of the state may only have two or three weeks of strawberry picking remaining, many locations in northern sections of the state are open now or are expected to be any day.
Bonacorsi Family Farm grows five acres of assorted strawberries including newer varieties like Rutgers Scarlet and some traditional favorites like Earliglo and Sparkle. The pick-your-own operation is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday -Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
“Our strawberries are one of the most anticipated crops of the season, and our customers can’t wait to pick them once we open,” said Sam Bonacorsi, owner of Bonacorsi Family Farm along with his wife, Laura. “Our advantage as a strictly local farm is that our fruit does not have to undergo rough handling or long journeys, so we are able to focus on selecting our fruit for best flavors, and only offer top quality.”
Bonacorsi Family Farm’s berries are available at their pick-your-own strawberry field location at 662 Pittstown Road, in Frenchtown and already picked at their roadside stand at 1137 Croton Road, Flemington. The Bonacorsi’s are a third-and-fourth generation farming family and have been in Hunterdon County since 2008. The family also grows 70 different varieties of modern day as well as heirloom apples, along with peaches, tart cherries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, and vegetables.
Strawberries can be part of a healthy diet as they are a good source of vitamin C. Strawberries should not be washed until ready to eat because of their high water content.
Look for strawberries that are plump and firm with a bright red color and natural shine. The size of the berry is not important; the color of the berry and the fragrance are the best indicators of flavor. Caps should be fresh, green, and intact. Avoid strawberries with green or white color, or those that appear mushy, shriveled, or leaky. Strawberries do not ripen after harvest, so they should be immediately stored in the refrigerator and picked as close to consumption time as possible.
When purchasing, check the carton for stains, which indicate over-ripeness. Remove the strawberries from the market or store container. Store in a shallow container on a paper towel in the refrigerator for up to three days. If a shallow container is not feasible, put paper towels between the layers. Remove from the refrigerator and serve at room temperature for optimum flavor.
To find Jersey Fresh strawberries, recipes that use strawberries, and other Jersey Fresh products at farm markets or pick-your-own farms, visit www.findjerseyfresh.com.
–Jeff Wolfe, NJDA