Commissioner Steve Troxler: Strawberries Are In Season

The strawberry season has been a little slow to arrive because of cooler temperatures, but fresh, locally grown berries are hitting the market and pick-your-own fields are beginning to open. NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says, “Get you some!”

  • Most of the time we are talking about serious subjects on this weekly broadcast, but today we’re going to talk about strawberries and most importantly, the start of the strawberry season.
  • So as a matter of full disclosure, I have to say strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts, so I am always pretty eager for the start of strawberry season.
  • Strawberries have been a little slow to arrive this year because of the cool weather we have had in the first quarter of the year. It was warm, then cold, then warm, then cold and then there was more cold.
  • While slow to arrive and likely not a record-breaking season, the crop is looking good and shoppers should find plenty of fresh berries.
  • Growers in Eastern North Carolina have begun picking berries, and we should see local berries from the Piedmont and western parts of the state in the weeks to follow.
  • Shoppers have likely been seeing locally grown berries that were raised in high tunnels in stores and at markets for weeks. This production method allows growers to extend their strawberry season.
  • But, we are now starting to see field-raised berries coming into the market and pick-your-own-fields are opening.
  • North Carolina is the third largest producer of strawberries in the country, with about 1,200 acres harvested.
  • We typically see the peak of strawberry season coming during the Mother’s Day weekend, with production continuing into Memorial Day.
  • There are special strawberry day events at our state-operated farmers markets. The State Farmers Market in Raleigh hosts Strawberry Day on May 3 with a recipe contest and free ice cream samples. The Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market hosts its event on May 4, also with a recipe contest and ice cream samples. An at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, there will be free ice cream samples on May 11.
  • Be sure to check out these and other strawberry-related events. Believe it or not, we have two strawberry-themed festivals in North Carolina. The N.C. Strawberry Festival is May 1-5 in Chadbourn and the Carolina Strawberry Festival is May 11 and 12 in Wallace.
  • I’m all for celebrating strawberries, and hope there’s some shortcake involved, too!