NORTHEY: STAWBERRY SEASON STARTING EARLY THIS YEAR

Written by Theresa Rose on May 13, 2015

Iowans encouraged to visit a strawberry grower or shop at a farmers market to enjoy these fresh, delicious treats

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today said that the strawberry growers around the state are nearly ready to welcome customers with an earlier than normal harvest and a good crop of berries. Strawberry growers from the western part of the state are reporting that strawberries will be ready to pick within the week. Reports from the other parts of the state are showing that harvest season for strawberries should arrive in about two weeks.

“Strawberries are the first fruit crop of the season. Visiting a local farmers market or going to a you-pick farm is a great way to find fresh berries that can be enjoyed fresh, used in backing or preserved as jellies or jams,” Northey said. “Regardless of where you get your berries, act fast as strawberry season in Iowa only lasts a few weeks.”

Once picked strawberries do not continue to ripen like some fruits and vegetables so select vibrant red berries. Also, shop early and often because strawberries have a short shelf life and should be eaten within a few days of being picked.

If taste alone isn’t enough to encourage you to indulge in strawberries, here are a few more reasons to consider:

· Strawberries are low in calories and fat-free: one cup of unsweetened strawberries has only 55 calories.

· Your kids will eat them; over 53 percent of seven to nine-year-olds picked strawberries as their favorite fruit

· Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C and good sources of folic acid, potassium, and fiber.

Support a local grower and treat your family to a fun-filled trip to the strawberry patch and make memories that will last a lifetime. If visiting a strawberry patch, be sure to call or check the website for their harvest information.

You can find strawberry growers by visiting our Fruit and Vegetable Farms Directory at https://www.idalsdata.org/fmnp/index.cfm or on the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association “farm search” page at http://www.ifvga.org/en/about_us/farm_search/.