Where can I buy giant strawberries for dipping?
I am going to make Caramel/Chocolate covered strawberries for christmas this year. Where can I buy Giant Strawberries like the pro’s do? Anywhere online or somehow i can ask a place? I need about 50 berries
Strawberries are never out of season when you look at the US market as a whole, locally they may not be grown, but they are always being grown somewhere. There are no special plants for the larger berries, they are just picked and packed first.
Unless there is a freeze December berries for the US market are being grown in Southern California and Mexico, the same companies are on both sides of the boarder and the only way you’d be able to tell the difference is by looking at the label. (though some of the Mexican varieties have bigger leaves). Depending on the weather Florida may also have some available, but much of that product will stay local or the varieties are those that don’t travel well.
December and early January are not peak growing times, while berries are ripening (they don’t all ripen at the same time), they are in short supply and when that happens the big (long stem) berries are really expensive. Even with volume purchases I’ve seen them at $65 a flat. Each of the large clam shells will hold between 12 and 25 stemmed berries depending on if the grower lays them flat or nests them, expect some loss due to bruising.
You didn’t say where you were but normally long stem berries are special ordered about a week to a week and a half ahead of time if you are on the East coast. Most grocery stores can’t special order long stems during December, it’s just not on their pricing sheets. You’ll need to special order them from a produce supplier that has trucks (or planes) that travel to the Southern California or Texas (Mexican import location) markets.
Frankly 1 flat is an annoyance to them, if you are near a major market (New York, Atlanta, Chicago) they may already be ordering them, but not all produce companies carry them or have the contacts needed to order long stems.
The best way to find out who has them available is to contact the growers, Driscoll’s, Natureripe, Dole, Wish Farms.. and ask them who the distributors are in the area. Then contact that distributor and find out what their schedule of shipment are and plan accordingly. Most will not deliver to a house so you’ll have to go to them. You also need to remember that you are small as to their other customers (hotels, restaurants..) and a one flat order is nothing to them (if a big hotel asks for the berries you ordered: the hotel will get them and the distributor will say they got shorted).
If you are in the sticks and there are no local distributors some of the growers deal with companies that pack and ship the berries by air cargo, (varies by grower) but expect those to be even more expensive and a lot more bruising. If that’s the case you’ll need to pick them up at the airport cargo terminal.
A flat of long stem berries is the easiest way to go for big berries, but you have other options:
1) get bis truffle molds (1×1 inch cavity or close too it), fill the mold, dump it & scrape the top edge, let it set up, then put strawberry pieces (or pineapple, raspberries, bananas or blueberries) in the mold and fill it back up. they will still have a very short shelf life but it will be something most people have not seen before.