Strawberry season runs April through May
April signals the start of strawberry season in North Carolina and local growers are expecting a very good crop that should last through Memorial Day.
“There should be plenty of berries this year despite a wet and cold first quarter in 2019,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We encourage consumers to visit a pick-your-own farm, go to a farmers market or stop by a roadside stand to get the freshest berries available.”
Consumers also can find locally grown strawberries in grocery stores and restaurants by looking for the Got to Be NC logo. The Got to Be NC program is the official state identity program for N.C. agricultural products and lets consumers know they are buying a product grown, raised, caught or made in North Carolina.
North Carolina is the fourth-largest producer of strawberries in the nation with about 1,100 acres harvested across the state. Growers have already started picking in Eastern North Carolina. Piedmont growers will begin picking in mid-April and growers in the mountains should start by the first of May. The peak of the season is traditionally Mother’s Day.
The department and the N.C. Strawberry Association will celebrate with two Strawberry Day events in May. The first event is at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh on May 2 and at the Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax on May 3. Both celebrations include a strawberry recipe contest, ice cream samples and a visit by Suzy Strawberry.
Strawberry Rice Salad with Chicken and Almonds
By Betty Thompson Morton, Kernersville
Honorable Mention in 2013 contest
3 cups North Carolina Strawberry halves
1 cup North Carolina strawberry slices
1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice
2 tablespoon rice vinegar or your favorite vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon seasoning blend (Spice Delight) or seasoned salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon local North Carolina honey
1 bag salad spring mix (3 cups packed leaves), roughly chopped
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
½ cup sliced almonds
What to do
Slice and halve North Carolina strawberries. Prepare rice following package directions. When rice is done, fluff with a fork and cool.
While rice is cooling, in a large bowl whisk together vinegar, mustard, and seasoning blend. Whisk in olive oil in a thin steady stream until dressing thickens. Whisk in honey.
Add rice, salad mix, chicken, almonds, and halved strawberries to dressing bowl, tossing to combine after adding each ingredient. Garnish with strawberry slices. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until chilled. Makes 6-8 servings.
- Cooked bulgur, quinoa, red or black rice, or whole-wheat couscous can be substituted for the cooked brown rice if desired.
- If a meatless meal is desired, cooked turkey or chicken can be left out.
- Toast almonds for extra flavor, if desired.
North Carolina Strawberry Association.
1 pint basket of berries = 2½ cups whole berries
1 pint basket of berries = 2¼ cups sliced berries
1 pint basket of berries = 1¾ cups pureed berries
1 pint basket of berries = about 12-14 large berries or 16-20 medium berries
1 quart of berries weighs about 1¼-1½ pounds
1 flat of berries (8 quarts) weighs about 12 pounds
1½ to 2 quarts are needed for a 9-inch pie
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries = one 10 oz. package of frozen strawberries
1 cup of strawberries contains approx. 50 calories.
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