Strawberrying depicts an American community existing in peace with nature. The girl picking wild strawberries, farmers tending a field, and grazing cattle have a harmonious relationship with the trees, shrubs, and river-natural features that serve as a reminder that this landscape was wilderness in the recent past. A church steeple in the distance suggests the religious underpinnings of American society. A critic for the New York Daily Times wrote in 1854 that in Strawberrying, "Durand showed his great knowledge of Nature in her freshest mood. Scarcely one of the hundreds who gaze upon this picture will leave it without recalling the days of their youth-the bright, active, strawberrying time of their life."
Durand became known as a founder of the Hudson River School because of his portrayals of pastoral scenes like this. As president of the National Academy of Design from 1845 to 1861, he served as an important advocate for American art and artists.