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Where do you go to buy the best fresh strawberries?

  • b

Now that it's strawberry season, I am looking to buy some good, fresh, sweet, luscious strawberries.

I have not been really happy with most of the berries I find now-a-days which I have been told are of the Camarosa variety. They seem tougher and not as flavorful as the softer, sweeter, more luscious Chandler variety I have been used to.

Unfortunately the Camarosa is the dominant variety grown in California (displacing the Chandler) partly because their firmness allows them to travel well. They are also a good looking berry because of their naturally large size and great deep red color. However when it comes to taste and texture they miss the boat for my tastes.

Went to the Santa Maria Strawberry Festival one year and they had 3 or 4 different varieties and the Chandler stood out as the best.

I also got some good berries at a stand in Oxnard but I am hoping to get some closer to home.

Can anyone tell me where I can get the best strawberries? Preferably in Orange County but if they are the best, I will travel.

Thanks in advance for the tips!

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  1. Organic are the best to me, and here is why:

    When I buy organic, they spoil in 2-3 days. If I buy commercial berries, they have sat unsullied in the fridge for as long as two weeks!! What on earth do they put on them to make them last that long? It scares me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: snackish

      I realize this isn't an answer to your question, but a strawberry vendor at the Westwood Farmers' Market gave the following advice for how to get strawberries to last a little longer at home: line a storage container with a paper towel and put unwashed berries in. Lay one more towel on top of the berries and cover with storage lid. Stored in the fridge like this, I've had organic berries last a week or so with very little spoilage!

      1. re: Alison M.

        I have VERY good luck storing fresh strawberries in a correctly-sealed Tupperware with something in the bottom to hold the strawberries above the floor of the container. That way they don't sit in any moisture that may collect.

        I usually use the Tupperware celery holder which comes with a removable grid. It easily keeps fresh berries for 7-10 days.

        Don't wash the berries first. Wash and hull them as you're ready to eat them.

    2. Irvine Farmer's Market?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Debbie
        Professor Salt

        There's an older Japanese couple at the UCI market that sells Chandlers grown on their farm in Buena Park. They'll be a hand drawn sign saying so. I find theirs consistently the best stawberries at the UCI market.

        Here's a link to a thread from last year, too.

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      2. Around this time last year, there was an older Japanese lady at the Westwood farmer's market (Thursdays afternoons, 1-7 p.m.???) selling fantastic Chandler strawberries. I mention this because her farm is in Buena Park. Unfortunately, I don't recall the name and I no longer live in the area...perhaps another Chowhound who frequents the Westwood farmer's market can help.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Earl Grey

          The hand pick farm in Buena Park that the old Japanese couple own is on Stanton St between La Palma & Orangethrope just about the middle on the west side of the street. Have the best Strawberry very juicy & soft too, including the stem area is very soft. Its a little more expensive but worth it. The old couple use to sell at that stand but now they left it with a hired hand taking care of business there.

          1. re: USANDA

            I'm going to eat myself silly with great strawberries this year!
            Thanks for the info!

            1. re: USANDA
              Ron Rosenthal

              I stopped by the stand on Stanton last week. They said they only have Camarosas.

          2. I don't know what type of strawberries they are, but I buy mine from a little strawberry stand right near my home. They are fantastic, and in the summer time this stand also has an assortment of other produce that is very nice. The stand is in Buena Park, on the just off the corner of Malvern and Dale Ave... on Dale Ave, just about 100 feet south of Malvern. They used to farm land right in Buena Park, but now they have a farm somewhere in the inland empire. Nice people and good produce.

            7 Replies
            1. re: woo!

              I checked out that stand yesterday. They claim they only have camarosas.

              1. re: woo!

                Someone said that the stand on dale street had a good variety of strawberries does anyone have their number to that stand I live pretty far and I would like to call to see what they have before I make the trip. I would greatly appreciate it. I also heard that the Glenn family owned it

                1. re: anniestryker

                  I bought some luscious Gaviotas from Harry's Berries this morning at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market.

                  1. re: maudies5

                    Does anyone know anything about this farm that sells fresh strawberries. On dale st. I've heard so many nice comments about it and would like to try it out. Please help

                    1. re: anniestryker

                      You have to realize you replied to a post put up over 8 years ago on the LA Chowhound board. So things may well, (probably have) changed in that amount of time.

                    2. re: maudies5

                      Hands down the best berries I've ever eaten. We'll drive in from OC about once or twice a month just for the Harry's Berries Gaviota. Not a huge fan of the Seascape or other varities we've tried.

                      1. re: js76wisco

                        When my better half and I head that way, we'll be sure to be snare some Harry's.

                        In the meantime, js, I'll once again give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to Manassero's strawbs (http://www.manasserofarms.com/locatio...). The three original OC locations remain open, but the Cerritos spot is closed for the season.

                        Apparently the Placentia (Orangethorpe and Lakeview) stand isn't an "original." No matter: It's definitely worth your while to check it out if you're in the area.

                2. Your local farmer's market is probably a good bet. There's a guy at the Eagle Rock farmer's market that has the most amazing strawberries I've ever tasted.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chris o

                    Could you tell me the location and times of the Eagle Rock farmers market? Or, if there's a community website, that would be wonderful.

                    1. re: cjla

                      It's Friday nights, I believe the hours are 4pm-10pm. Location is off Eagle Rock Blvd., one block south of Colorado, on the side street to the East (ie, by the public library, or behind SWORK).

                  2. Harry's Berries (which is at just about every farmers' market) used to carry the chandlers; they haven't had them the last couple of years. They do have seascapes and gaviotas, which are both much better than camarosas. The gaviotas, in particular, are excellent (to my taste, every bit as good as a chandler).

                    But as others have pointed out, any good-sized farmers market is bound to have someone selling chandlers.

                    Of course, if you have the time/space/ability, you could also try growing some. See link below...

                    Link: http://www.groworganic.com/a/item_FP7...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jack Flash

                      I'm anxious to try a Gaviota. I've never heard of it but it will be nice to add another strawberry variety to my palate.

                    2. You're in luck, my young friend! The best Chandlers in So. Cal. are about a block from my house. There's a stand on the east side of Dale just south of Malvern. Not sure if it's in Buena Park or Fullerton.

                      (Malvern is the same street as the Chapman Avenue in Fullerton, and Dale is between Gilbert and Beach Blvd.

                      I haven't been yet this season but they've been $2 per (generous) basket for a couple years, with a bit of a price break if you buy several baskets or a flat. They also usually have strawberry jam, chocolate dipped strawberries (never tried them) and a few other produce items. This stand is family-run and they've told me the truck the berries in from the Ontario area.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Dorothy

                        That is the exact same place I mentioned earlier! Wow... if you live just a block away... that means you live about 2 blocks from us.

                        That strawberry stand is GREAT. It is technically in Buena Park, and their stuff is awesome... you gotta try their jam. They used to farm the ground that is now the "Lakeside" gated community (around 350 home and a lake), but when the houses went up about 4-5 years ago, they moved their farm to Ontario. Really nice people.

                        1. re: woo!

                          That must have been the Glenn farm -- I went to school with their daughter and grew up in Fullerton. We used to get our strawberries from them -- quite good.

                        2. re: Dorothy

                          Thanks Dorothy!
                          I hope to get some this weekend and probably have to try the chocolate dipped too!

                        3. Joe & Sue Naritoku have owned a strawberry, boysenberry & general veggie farm & stand in Garden Grove for years. I know that for a while at least they used to sell at a farmers market nearby as well.

                          8382 Lampson Ave. near the 22 fwy & Beech Ave.

                          Great fruits & veggies fresh from the lot right behind the stand!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Lion Dancer

                            Thanks! And Boysenberries too!
                            I'll have to stop in since it's nearby.

                            1. re: Brian (OC)

                              The stand is actually their garage so if they've already sold out & closed for the day it may not look like much when you drive by. Let me know what you think when you go!

                          2. Chandler berries are available at most farmer's markets right now. Ask & taste.

                            We had excellent berries last week.

                            1. This thread is over 8 years old and new varieties like Albion strawberries are now common in the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria areas. You can get these at Farmers Markets in Torrance (Wilson Park) and have bought some at the Kaiser Hospital every Wednesday in Lomita. I prefer Albions over Camarosas any day but both have a very short shelf life.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Clinton

                                Twice now I have bought fresh strawberries from my local Costco and they were sweet. I don't remember the name of the farm(s) or the type of berry but it does refer to the sweetness of the berry on the label.
                                I find I do have to use them within the first day or two and the first time the container was so large that I ended up sharing with my neighbors in order to not have them spoil before we could consume them.

                              2. Don't know which part of The OC you're in, Brian, but strawberry fans in northern OC are in fine fettle with the berries from Manassero Farms. About five Manassero booths are within the area.

                                Extremely locally grown -- the stand at Orangethorpe and Lakeview in Placentia is about 100 feet from its super-small field -- the strawbs sold there feature candy-like sweetness and a perfect texture. They don't come cheap ($10 for three pounds), but they're definitely worth the splurge.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Dornfelder

                                  You've got to try a Seascape or Gaviota strawberry from Harry's Berries. Depending on inventory, they can be found in up to 15 Farmer's Markets from Montecito to Torrance each week during the season. You should check their website. You'll pay more but the flavor is way better. You can sample them and compare for yourself and I'm sure you'll taste the difference. As a previous thread mentioned, they have a much shorter shelf life than say the run of the mill Chandler or Camarosas strawberries, and shouldn't be refrigerated as the flavor will deteriorate noticeably, so plan to eat them quickly.

                                  1. re: hungry helga

                                    I give another vote to Harry's Berries. Over many years, we have sampled from Oxnard. While they were good years ago, something has happened. Now, the berries from Oxnard are mostly white inside and do not taste like strawberries. Harry's Berries are consistently ambrosial!

                                    Unfortunately, I think they are done for this year.

                                    1. re: hungry helga

                                      Harry's Berries are great, and I've been buying them for, literally, decades. But they are a special occasion treat these days ... $6 a pint is outside my comfort zone. honestly, i've had really good luck with the "super sweet" berries from Trader Joe's. their regular berries are very hit-or-miss, but at least so far this summer, the premium berries have been good, if not great.

                                  2. Chandlers are the best. Harry's Berries and Glorias at the Santa Monica Market both have them. Harry's also has Gaviotas which are excellent. Albions - large and beautiful but lacking in flavor - are what I think is the dominant variety. Camarosas are better than Albions.