In case you haven’t heard the good news – strawberries are early this year. Strawberry growers in eastern counties are already picking berries, and growers in the Piedmont and western regions of the state should have berries in the coming weeks.
This means that now’s the time to plan your visit to the farm to pick up buckets of the ripe, red berries. With about 250 strawberry farms in North Carolina, it should be easy to find a pick-your-own farm near you.
To help prepare you for your visit, rewatch this episode of Flavor, NC, where Lisa visits Carrigan Farms in Mooresville and gets great advice for storing and freezing strawberries once you get them home.
North Carolina is the fourth-largest producer of strawberries in the nation. In 2015, N.C. growers produced 14.3 million pounds of strawberries, according to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Fresh strawberries makes us think of strawberry shortcake. We pulled out a great recipe from the 1989 Goodness Grow in North Carolina cookbook for an easy to make hot milk shortcake – with strawberries.
Hot Milk Shortcake
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups sifted self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
Combine eggs and 2 cups sugar in mixing bowl; mix well. Add flour; mix well. Combine butter and milk in small saucepan. Heat just until the butter melts, stirring constantly; do not boil. Sir into batter gradually. Pour into 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees until shortcake tests done. Cut into squares. Combine strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in bowl. Let stand for several minutes. Pour over shortcake. Combine sour cream and confectioners’ sugar in small bowl. Spoon dollops of sour cream mixture on each square.
Makes 8 servings. Each serving has 554 calories.