Strawberries used to be one of my favorite fruits. I am continually disappointed when I bite into them lately and they have little flavor unless it's that slightly fermented taste. I am sure that large fruit distributors supply all the local grocers with bright-red, bruise-resistant product without any concern for flavor. However, even when I go picking in the short northeastern season, it's hit or miss. It's almost picking season and I want to know what varieties I should be looking for at the local farms. Any advice for finding a sweet but tart berry like I remember?

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    Hmm...I'm not surprised that you're finding strawberries from large distributors lacking, but I find it a bit distressing that you're seeing a similar phenomenon at local farms. Have you discussed it with any of the farmers? – Jolenealaska Jun 24 '14 at 18:55
  • Is this a recent and sudden phenomenon? Or are these the first strawberries you've sought out and eaten in a few years? Taste being so subjective, I'm almost wondering if there's a psychological aspect at work here. – logophobe Jun 24 '14 at 19:13
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    Is this just this year or in previous years? It's a bit early for strawberries in some areas, a few weeks can make a huge difference – Yamikuronue Jun 24 '14 at 19:39
  • My first thought is to try finding other foodies near you, and ask them. You might try local farmer's markets for recommendations on where to find exceptional strawberries. – Joe Jun 25 '14 at 12:41
  • related : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/23788/67 – Joe Jun 25 '14 at 13:09

There are quite a few different strawberry cultivars. It'd be surprising if farmers didn't change which ones they plant in response to changing climatic and economic factors. Size and taste changes when they do that.

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  • An excellent point -- in many fruits, the cultivars that have been selected to give maximum yield don't have as much flavor as their less productive cousins. – Joe Jun 25 '14 at 12:40
  • I just had a thought -- strawberries are perrenials. It's unlikely that local, established farmers changed them out, unless they planted new fields. It's possible that the weather is affecting their flavor, though. (too much rain, too little rain, too much heat, etc.) – Joe Jun 25 '14 at 13:09
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    Perrenials yes, but they aren't the sturdiest of plants, and picky about soil conditions over time, so you get yield reduction ipmcenters.org/cropprofiles/docs/ORstrawberries.pdf if you don't replant every few years. That gives opportunity to change cultivars. – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 25 '14 at 13:21
  • That link for the cultivars is very helpful. Thanks. – gmdavisUX Jun 27 '14 at 16:25
  • Some local farmers changed cultivars over here in Sweden many years ago and my family managed to get a few of the old plants. They taste much better than certain recent cultivars... – Max Jun 29 '14 at 8:42

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