N.C. strawberries signal sweet start to market season

by | Apr 20, 2011

There is something about strawberry season that is refreshing. It could be because  strawberries signal the opening of many farmers markets and the start of the spring produce season.

Maybe it’s because pick-your-own strawberry farms provide quality family time and a chance to get out of the house after a long winter.

It also could be because strawberries just taste so good.

North Carolina is the third largest producer of strawberries in the country. Despite a late frost, the strawberry crop looks good, which means there will be plenty of strawberries to eat and plenty of ways to celebrate this season. Here are some of our recommendations:

Attend a Strawberry Day: Take home a pint, or a bushel, of strawberries from a state farmers market. Also, enjoy free samples, recipes and nutritional information. Strawberry Days will be held at the state farmers markets in Lumberton, April 30; Raleigh, May 5; Colfax, May 13; and Charlotte, May 20.

Enter a Strawberry Recipe Contest: Enter your favorite strawberry dessert recipe for a chance to win $100 during Strawberry Days at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, May 5. Entries must include at least two cups of N.C. strawberries and will be judged on taste, appearance and creativity. Contest rules are available here.

Travel to a Strawberry Festival: There are several commodity festivals held throughout the state each year, but there are just two that celebrate strawberries. The Greater Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce will host the Cleveland Community Strawberry Festival Saturday, April 23, and the N.C. Strawberry Festival will be held in Chadbourn Saturday, May 7.

Visit a Strawberry Farm: Whether you are looking for the nearest strawberry farm or want to plan a mini-vacation to a pick-your-own farm on the other side of the state, the department can help you find a location to meet your needs. Search for strawberry farms online at www.ncfarmfresh.com.

These are just some of the ways you can enjoy fresh N.C. strawberries. How does your family celebrate strawberry season?