Strawberries have started arriving at the State Farmers' Markets in North Carolina. NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says that the warm temperatures we've had this spring caused an explosion of pollen, but they also sped up the arrival of strawberry season. Troxler says this year's crop looks fantastic, and not only can you find them in the farmers' markets, but NCDA&CS can provide a map to pick-your-own fields across the state. They're available online at www.NCFarmFresh.com or by calling Kevin Hardison at (919) 733-7887 to have one sent by mail.
There are also several strawberry focused events across the state in the next few weeks, starting with Strawberry Day at the State Farmers' Market in Raleigh on Thursday, April 29, from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm, followed by the NC Strawberry Festival on Saturday, May 1, in Chadburn, then Strawberry Day at the Charlotte Farmers Market is scheduled for Friday, May 7th, and ending with Strawberry Day at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market on Friday, May 14th.
Also, the NC Farm to School Program has seen a record order for strawberries this year with more than 13,000 flats.
Troxler says that North Carolina ranks fourth in the nation in strawberry production and the crop brings in about $20 million a year for farmers.