Sunday, May 22, 2011

Strawberry Season in Virginia

One of the sweetest seasons is underway in Virginia, with strawberries ripening and ready for picking. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says growers in Tidewater and Southside saw strawberry picking first for Mother's Day, followed by central and the rest of Virginia. In Charlottesville, strawberry picking is going on right now! Strawberry season usually lasts through June in cooler parts of Virginia. While Virginia only has 250 acres of strawberry fields, each acre produces a significant amount of fruit. On average, an acre yields about 18,000 pounds of strawberries.

Growers say a relatively cool spring has been good for their berries. The recent hot spell has been the finishing touch on what they're calling a sweet berry season.

Most strawberry seasons last four to five weeks, depending on the heat. If the days get too hot, the plants quit producing berries. Hot weather makes the plant want to shut down, and we don’t want that because we want the season to last as long as possible.

Strawberries are a good source of vitamins A and C and are packed with other nutrients, including calcium, potassium and folate. At only 50 calories per cup, they’re a good-for-you spring food.

Strawberries are well represented at the Virginia Marketplace by Graves Mountain Strawberry Preserves. Graves Mountain Lodge is nestled deep in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Syria, Virginia. Graves Mountain Lodge established its cannery in 1980. They use family recipes to make their old-fashioned preserves unmatched for their quality and goodness. They cook their preserves in open kettles. The batches are kept small and each product is made as needed. They use the finest quality fruit, pure cane sugar and all natural seasonings in creating a product they feel is as good as "Grandma used to make."

You can get Graves Mountain Strawberry Preserves
in a set of three and in preserve samplers

in gift boxes

and in gift baskets.

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