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North Carolina strawberry season to begins soon
3/18/2011: .

Strawberries, one of spring's first fruits to ripen, soon will be ready at almost 200 farms across North Carolina. According to the North Carolina Strawberry Association (NCSA), this year's crop is expected to be early and plentiful.

 

"North Carolina strawberries handled the cold winter well this year, so we're looking forward to a good season," says Debby Wechsler, NCSA executive secretary.

 

Reports from around the state indicate harvests in the Sandhills and coast in early April, in the Piedmont in mid-April, and in the mountain area in late April. Strawberry-picking season generally lasts from five to eight weeks, depending on the weather. May, which is peak season, is officially regarded as Strawberry Month.

 

"Last year, we had some very hot weather early in the season, which brought the crop in early but hurt blossoms for the late crops," Wechsler explains. "Cool spring weather prolongs the season, while hot weather, especially in May, shuts it down."

 

Strawberries, the official red berry of North Carolina, plays a major role in the state economy, bringing in more than $25 million each year.

 

"We are No. 1 in the nation among states that sell strawberries directly to consumers," Wechsler notes.

 

To find locations of farms as well as recipes and other strawberry-related information, visit www.ncstrawberry.com.