Welcome to my strawberry patch. You can grow them for eating, you can grow them for jam, or you can just grow them to feed the birds. Have a sit and read what I have found out about buying, growing and protecting these little gems.
There are three main types of strawberries: those that produce one crop of fruit per year, those that produce two crops of fruit per year and those that produce fruit all season long. Junebearers produce the biggest crop and have the largest number of varieties. Everbearers, which produce two crops, are very popular with home gardeners. Day neutral berries produce steadily throughout the growing season if properly managed although achieving this goal can be difficult. You can read summaries of the different plants on .insert link.
Every source I have found suggest lots and lots of different ways to grow berries. The one source that discusses commercial growing seems to suggest the best arangement for growing berries is to plant double rows of berries with the beds 48" on center. Combining this with another source which says the plants should be 12-15 inches apart when using the hill method yields beds that have double rows of plants that are about 2 foot wide with 2 foot isles. Beds should not be much longer than 25 or 30 feet. An excelent discussion of the home production of strawberreis can be found in the University of Nebraska publication G89-897-A.
You can buy them at your local nursery or you can buy them from mail order / online suppliers. You should expect to pay between 30 and 75 cents per plant if you buy bare root plants and you should expect to purchase a minumum of 25 plants. 25 to 50 plants should supply a family of four with ample berries. You can find berries at the usual places like Burpee. Stores that specialize in berries include Shasta Nurseries sell 15 varities in large quantities. Minimum purchase is 1200 plants, Strawberry Plants . com, Lassen Canyon Strawberry Growers, Peaceful Valley Farm Supply stock a half dozen of the most common varities and sells them in bundles of 25 or 1200, Simmons Berry Farm of Mountainburg Arkansas may have Sparkle plants and other less common plants.berriesonline and otherplace.