Fresh Oregon Strawberries in November?

Javier Fernandez Salvador

Javier Fernandez Salvador samples one of his fresh strawberries harvested at NWREC in late November.

Javier Fernandez Salvador’s idea of creating a year-around fresh strawberry market in Oregon has been under development at his demonstration project at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) over the past two years. 

Fernandez Salvador’s work has been supported with Oregon Legislative funding provided during the past two biennia with current funding through June, 2021. Oregon Representative Rick Lewis, Silverton, helped secure the special funding to initiate new research and education for strawberry and caneberry growers. 

“I am using strawberry growing practices from California where day-neutral or ever-bearing strawberries are grown and produce about 97% of the entire nation’s supply of strawberries,” said Fernandez Salvador. “I want to show that we can produce a fresh market berry here in Oregon for up to 8 months of the year that is big, red, and has the flavor Oregonians expect.” 

Techniques being used, include plastic covered raised beds, planting larger-than-normal nursery stock in the early spring, season extension low tunnels in the early spring and late autumn to protect the crop from cold and wet conditions, plus careful attention to weed management, irrigation, and nutrient management. 

First year results didn’t get in the ground early enough to have berries in April to see the beginning end of production. But, some of the best berries you’ll eat were harvested two days before Thanksgiving at NWREC. And, there’s nothing better! 

“Our techniques can be used to produce a high-value strawberry for a fresh local market throughout a 6 to 8 month period—and, that’s very different than traditional strawberry markets in Oregon.”