CALVERTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Better get them while they last! The shortest crop of the season just might be the sweetest, too.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported from Long Island’s strawberry fields, the best way to enjoy the sweet treats is to pick your own.

At this point in the year the island’s strawberry crop is at its peak. The fleeting summer pleasure is around for a short while, already gone by the 4th of July.

Medford resident Pete Townend was out in the heat, handpicking his own berries.

“They taste so good,” he told CBS2. “They are so much better than when you get them from Mexico.”

He says his wife makes strawberry preserves, so they get to enjoy the fruit all year round.

Most strawberries are grown in California or Florida, but the small, fragile, melt-in-your-mouth Long Island variety is in a class of its own.

Busting with flavor, perfect for jams and pies — it’s why Patchogue resident Noreen Waters wasn’t in the supermarket Tuesday.

“These are sweeter and juicier,” she said. “It’s kinda part of summer on Long Island.”

Glover Farm in Brookhaven Hamlet has seen a big uptick in clientele this year.

“It’s more of a local product” Rachel Glover from the farm said. “These aren’t sprayed with anything. Most of the stuff on the Island isn’t sprayed so it’s definitely a healthier option.”

And after days and weeks of damp weather, these few days of sunshine really bake in the sweetness.

Jeff Rottkamps, owner of Fox Hollow Farm in Calverton, is one of only 15 Long Island strawberry growers — all of which supply directly to the public.

His advice; handle with care.

“The best way to pick strawberries is with a little stem, with one hand, and then put them in the other hand,” he recommends. “Don’t drop em, they bruise very easily.”

And don’t rule out the little ones — they pack the sweetest punch. You can even freeze them, just make sure to wash and hull them before putting them in a plastic freezer bag so you can enjoy the taste of Long Island summer year round.

CBS2 reports tens of thousands of local strawberries are being picked for Long Island’s Strawberry Festival in Mattituck, running from Thursday to Sunday.

More From CBS New York

Download Weather App
60 Minutes Hear It On Demand

Watch & Listen LIVE