Strawberry Fields Forever

Farmer's Markets and You Pick Farms are a great way to buy and eat locally grown fruits and vegetables in North Carolina.  | http://www.ncbbi.org/strawberry-farms-in-north-carolina

How we wish the red, juicy, “fresh-from-the-fields” strawberry season in North Carolina could last forever.

Depending on weather and temperature ranges, the strawberry picking season in NC starts in late April and, in certain parts of the state, will stretch into the first or second week of June. It is a glorious time to be alive!

If you’re visiting from outside the state or exploring areas outside your NC hometown, do yourself a favor — stop and sample as many locally-grown strawberries as you can possibly find.

Fortunately, North Carolina makes it easy to map out an action plan. Visit the North Carolina Strawberry Association website and discover all the local spots where you can pick your own strawberries. Hint: If you don’t have time to pick yourself, the You-Pick fields almost always have a supply on hand for a quick cash-and-carry option.

Farmer's Markets and You Pick Farms are a great way to buy and eat locally grown fruits and vegetables in North Carolina | http://www.ncbbi.org/strawberry-farms-in-north-carolina
If you have an iPhone, there’s a free Farm Locator app you download from the itunes store directing you to strawberry farms across North Carolina. If you’re on an Android, click here for a mobile-friendly search version. And, if you’re out of state and looking for local strawberry farms outside of North Carolina, here’s the link to find a directory of local strawberry farms near you.

Of course, there are NC Bed and Breakfast Inns Association member inns within easy driving distance of the local farms. Among the many advantages of staying at a NC bed and breakfast — innkeepers know where the all the nearby farmer’s markets and You-Pick farms are. Be sure to ask your hosts so you get an insider’s taste of the area you’re visiting.

During strawberry season, most innkeepers will include fresh strawberries for breakfast – from homemade strawberry jam to strawberry-banana walnut bread to strawberry French toast. Also, strawberries freeze beautifully, so savvy innkeepers purchase large quantities during the peak of the season to freeze and use year-round in jams, breads, desserts and other guest favorites.

Recipes, you say?

You’ll find two wonderful strawberry recipes in the new NC Bed and Breakfast Cookbook.

Strawberry French Toast from The Herren House in Waynesville  (Page 269)
Strawberry and Sweet Cream Tart from Duke Mansion in Charlotte  (Page 267)

If you don’t already have a copy of the latest edition or would like to order additional copies to give as gifts, be sure to order online and start enjoying all the flavors this wonderful state has to offer.

For instant gratification, here’s where you can grab the award-winning recipe for Fresh Homemade Strawberry Jam from innkeeper Chloe Tuttle at Big Mill B&B.

Enjoy your berry pickin’ and eatin’.