FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2009
Kevin Hardison, marketing specialist
NCDA&CS Marketing Division
(919) 733-7887, ext. 234
Get your shortcake ready; North Carolina
strawberries are hitting the market
RALEIGH — It’s the time of year North Carolina strawberry lovers wait for — the start of the local strawberry season. It is a season so tantalizingly short that when fresh berries start hitting the market, they typically find eager shoppers.
“This year’s crop looks great, and if we can keep these cool temperatures around for the remainder of the month and first of May, growers could see an exceptional season,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Growers in southeastern North Carolina have already picked a few berries and we are seeing some in farmers markets, roadside stands and stores, but more and more growers will have berries in the coming weeks.”
North Carolina strawberry season is set to hit full stride by late April, with berries expected the week of April 20 in coastal areas, the week of April 27 in the central portion of the state and the week of May 4 in western counties. North Carolina’s strawberry season typically runs through May.
Fresh North Carolina strawberries will soon be on the menu in 47 school districts across the state, when the first flats shipped through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Farm to School program are delivered April 27.
A good crop outlook means shoppers will be able to find plenty of berries this season in grocery stores, roadside stands, farmers markets and pick-your-own fields, said Kevin Hardison, NCDA&CS marketing specialist.
To help consumers, NCDA&CS is again publishing a directory of pick-your-own farms across the state. It can be found online at www.NCFarmFresh.com, or consumers can contact Hardison at (919) 733-7887, ext. 234, to have a copy mailed. In stores, shoppers can look for the Got to Be NC and Goodness Grows in North Carolina logos to identify North Carolina berries and other locally grown commodities.
In celebration of the red berry, a number of special events and festivals are planned for April and May:
- April 25 — Strawberry Day at the Southeastern N.C. Farmers Market in Lumberton, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- April 30 — Strawberry Day at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- May 3 — N.C. Strawberry Festival in Chadbourn, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- May 8 — Strawberry Day at the Charlotte Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- May 15 — Strawberry Day at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
North Carolina ranks fourth in the nation in strawberry production, and berry sales generated nearly $18 million in farm receipts in 2007.