When are strawberries in season in the UK? When to start picking strawberries

Strawberries and plums flourish in Warsaw s urban gardens

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Strawberries are available to buy all year round but this soft red fruit is only in season for part of the year. Different varieties will produce ripe strawberries at different times throughout the harvest period, so when can you expect these sweet berries to ripen in your area? These are the exact dates you can start picking strawberries in the UK.

When are strawberries in season in the UK?

Strawberries are incredibly easy to grow and are almost irresistible when they turn red and ripe in the warm weather.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), strawberries can be planted in September, October, March and April, and will be ready to pick from June.

The harvest season generally lasts from June to September, with a steady supply on offer from established runners throughout summer.

Early batches of this British summer fruit are often grown in warmer parts of the country, in particular, more southern regions such as Kent, Sussex and Wales.

During the harvest season, there are plenty of soft fruits available to pick across the UK – both in cities and the countryside.

According to Visit England, some of the best fruit-picking spots in the country are:

  • Enfield, London
  • York, Yorkshire
  • Weybridge, Surrey
  • Ticknall, Derbyshire

When to harvest strawberries

The iconic red colour is what we all look for in a ripe strawberry, but how red should they be before picking?

The RHS recommended strawberries are only picked once they are bright red all over, so you should always wait until there is no trace of green on the body of the soft fruit.

Picking strawberries at the warmest part of the day as this is when they’re at their “most tasty”.

In the UK, the unpredictable climate can delay or prolong the harvest season – though the mild weather suggests this year strawberries should be ready to pick right on time.

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Where do strawberries come from when they’re not in season?

While most strawberries sold in shops across the country are British, some imports are required to maintain stocks when the fruit is out of season

During winter, the strawberries found on supermarket shelves are generally not from the UK and are instead imported from Spain, Morocco, Egypt or Israel – all of which are also mass-growers of this popular berry.

According to British Summer Fruits, strawberries are imported for five months of the year, though the exact origin will vary from month to month.

When British strawberries are out of season, the fruits come from:

  • Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Israel in January and February
  • Spain, Morocco and Egypt in March
  • Spain and Morocco in April – (some available in the UK at this time)
  • Spain in May – (some available in the UK at this time)
  • Egypt and Israel in November
  • Israel, Egypt and Morocco in December

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