For Immediate Release - July 07, 2010

Visit Massachusetts "Pick-Your-Own" Farms this Summer

BOSTON - Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - Agricultural officials are encouraging residents to take advantage of the abundant array of fruits, vegetables, and flowers to be found at Pick-Your-Own farms located across the Commonwealth. These farms offer great day trips for families looking for not only an enjoyable outing together but also a great source of fresh, locally grown products.

"As more and more people become interested in where there food is grown, Pick-Your-Own farms offer a great opportunity for families to experience what locally grown is all about," said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares. "It doesn't get any fresher or better on the dinner table than food you've picked straight from the vine."

This year brought an early spring to the Bay State and many people are already freezing their freshly picked strawberries that came in about a week earlier than usual. Other berries that are now perfect for picking are raspberries and blueberries. Berries are rich in Vitamin C and can be eaten raw or used in baking recipes.

"Due to the record warmth in April, we may be out of strawberries but we'll have blueberries ready mid-July," said Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association President Mark Parlee.

Peppers, peas, radishes, and other greens are also ripe and ready by mid-July.

And don't forget flowers. Many farms have a wide selection of flowers in the fields where visitors can create their own personalized bouquets.

At DAR's MassGrown & Fresher website, residents and visitors are just a click away from easily finding Pick-Your-Own farms offering vine fresh fruits, vegetables, and more. There are currently 266 PYO farms available for viewing at MassGrown & Fresher's interactive "Agri"-Google map. Check out the map at http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map.htm .

Find out what crops are in season http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/images/availability_chart.jpg .

DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of local agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions - Agricultural Development, Animal Health, Crop and Pest Services, and Technical Assistance - DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the Commonwealth's agricultural community, working 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 http://twitter.com/MDARCommish. For your gateway to locally grown products, specialty foods, and fun ag-tivities go to www.mass.gov/massgrown.