Yes! We often receive queries from customers asking whether or not it is okay to harvest strawberries from first year plants, but you absolutely can.
If you planted earlier in the year, you may already have a few to harvest and it is absolutely fine to do so. Likewise, if you receive strawberry plants in the near future that are flowering/fruiting, simply plant them in pots or beds, and you can harvest any that ripen over the next few weeks. You probably won’t get a huge amount from each plant this year, but next year the plants will be more productive.
In addition to this, at the end of the summer, your strawberry plants (let’s call them parent plants) will start to put out runners. You can either let the runners take root in your strawberry patch, or you can plant them into pots. There’s more on that in a separate post about strawberry runners, but what essentially happens if you leave them to take root is that next spring you’ll have extra plants. Let’s call them the baby plants. You’ll be able to harvest from both parent plant and baby plants next season, so your crop will naturally be bigger next year.