Despite recent cold, N.C. strawberry season about to ripen

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Whether you enjoy them fresh or in a favorite dessert, North Carolina strawberries are seen as a sign of the season.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler recently announced the beginning of that season and some tasty upcoming events.

Some have wondered if cooler temps during the last few months may have slowed the sweet treat's growth this year.

"Despite unusually cold weather in the first quarter of the year, crop conditions at this point look to be good," Troxler said. "It may not be a record-breaking year, but there should be plenty of N.C. strawberries for consumers to enjoy."

Some Eastern North Carolina growers are already harvesting their crops. Piedmont and mountain growers should start seeing ripe fruit in the coming weeks, with the season's peak traditionally arriving around Mother's Day.

According to the Department of Agriculture, North Carolina is the third-largest strawberry producing state. Approximately 1,200 acres of strawberries are harvested across the Old North State.

Troxler also announced three upcoming "Strawberry Day" Events at state-operated farmers markets in Raleigh, Charlotte and Colfax in May. The first event will be held May 3 at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh.

The event will include a recipe contest, ice cream samples and a visit by Suzy Strawberry. The events in Colfax and Charlotte will be held May 4 and May 11, respectively.

For more information about the North Carolina strawberry industry, visit www.ncstrawberry.com. To find a you-pick farm near you, see www.ncfarmfresh.com.
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