For Immediate Release - June 01, 2012

State Agriculture Officials Announce the Arrival of Strawberry Season

BOSTON – Friday, June 1, 2012 – Due to a mild winter and a warm spring, Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) officials report today that strawberries are emerging about two weeks earlier than usual.

Across the Commonwealth, this delicious fruit will be available at local farms and farmers’ markets.

“The taste and freshness of the berry are some of the many benefits of buying locally grown strawberries,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Strawberries have many health benefits including high levels of Vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium and antioxidants. Strawberry season is a great opportunity to get outside with the family and enjoy the best of what Massachusetts has to offer.”

Several farms have even opened their fields for the kick off of the “pick-your-own” season.

“Strawberries are shaping up well, a little early due to the hot temperatures in March,” said Jim Geoghegan from Sunshine Farm in Sherborn. “Our challenge was getting through the frost for four days after the heat in March. But we sprayed water to keep the buds from getting too cold, and now we are looking at being ready for early June.”

Farms across the state will be celebrating the arrival of strawberry season with many events throughout the season. These are great places to try some classic recipes such as jams, jellies and strawberry shortcake. Remember to utilize the vast knowledge of the growers by asking for advice when it comes to preparing these delicious fruits.

Verrill Farm in Concord is one of many in Massachusetts to celebrate the opening of the strawberry season with a strawberry festival that will be held on Saturday, June 23, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

On June 14, join the Boston Area Gleaners at the 3rd Annual Strawberry Fete Fundraiser at Historic Gore Place in Waltham from 6 – 9 p.m. There will be live music, a tour of the gardens and strawberry shortcake will be served.

The Connors Farm in Danvers is hosting its 2012 Strawberry Festival on June 16 from 6 – 9 p.m., featuring performances from the Boston Rockabilly band. The festival will also have delicious farm country cooking from Bob's Barbecue Pit.

Local farmers’ markets, roadside farm stands or pick-your-own operations are a great place to find fresh strawberries. Massachusetts growers are welcoming visitors from across the state and beyond to experience their fresh, locally grown crop. The locations of strawberry farms and information on events and festivals can be found atwww.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map.htm. It’s a great way to find lists of agricultural destinations all over Massachusetts.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow us at twitter.com/MDARCommish.

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