Strawberries purchased from the grocery store are always nice and red, plump and juicy. Too bad they can be lacking in taste. This is partly due to the repeated washings and preservation process they undergo before being shipped to your store, leeching some of their natural sugars out. It's also partly due to the species of strawberry plant; chosen for yield rather than taste. There is no top quality strawberry plant because each species has its own advantages and disadvantages. To that end, it's up to you to decide whether you prefer taste, size, shelf-life, average yield or number of crops a year.
June Bearing Strawberry Plants
June bearing strawberries are the traditional type of strawberry plant found in grocery stores. They produce only a single harvest, sometime in late June or early July and are known for being large and richly colored. Of them all, the Allstar is of the best quality. While the Earligrow produces more fruit on each plant, the Allstar's fruit is the largest of all strawberry plants, ruby-red, grows in most North American and European climates, and is resistant to fungi which prey on strawberry plants. Though the sugar content of most ever bearing and day neutral strawberry plants is greater, Allstars are the sweetest of all June bearing strawberries.
Ever Bearing Strawberry Plants
Ever bearing strawberry plants produce three crops a year; one in June, late summer and early autumn. They do not propagate well on their own and are not often found, even in their native regions of North America. Neither do they freeze well or travel well, and will rot on the vine within a week of ripening. The Red Rich variety of this type of plant is generally considered the best. It is more resistant to fungus than most ever bearers and produces heavy crops which, though the berries are quite small, have the highest sugar content of all strawberry plants, bar none.
Day Neutral Strawberry Plants
Day neutral strawberry plants fit between the other two types as far as quality goes. They take their name because they produce fruit regardless of the length of the day/night cycle, making them excellent for areas that receive low light. They produce fruit all spring and summer long with no definitive crop or harvest time and are the easiest to care for. They resist most diseases and drought, and propagate on their own. Of this type, Tristar strawberries are the best quality. They are significantly larger than Red Rich and about half the size of the average Allstar. The sugar content falls directly in the middle, as well.