Strawberries Are Ripening Across Iowa

Strawberries Are Ripening Across Iowa

Iowa's 2014 strawberry crop is a good one, thanks to recent warmer weather, says Iowa Department of Agriculture horticulturist.

Iowa is entering prime strawberry picking season and growers across the state are ready to welcome customers. The late spring has slightly delayed the berries this year, but with the recent warm weather strawberry growers around the state are reporting a good crop, according to Mike Bevins, the state horticulturist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

"Fresh strawberries are delicious and when they are in season you get the best flavor, prices and nutritional value," says Bevins.  "Strawberries have one of the shortest harvest seasons, so don't delay in visiting a farm or shopping for fresh berries at your local farmers market."

IOWA GROWN BERRIES: You are encouraged to visit a strawberry grower with a pick-your-own patch or shop at a farmers market in Iowa to enjoy these fresh, delicious treats that are now ripe for picking.

It is good to call or check the farm's website before going to a "You Pick" farm to make sure strawberries are ready to be picked and that conditions are favorable. The Iowa Department of Agriculture offers the following recommendations.

Look for strawberries with their green caps intact
To get the "berry" best pick, look for berries with their green caps intact.  Strawberries will not continue to ripen after they are picked and are best when eaten within a few days.   

To store strawberries put unwashed berries loosely covered with plastic wrap in the coldest part of your refrigerator for no more than three days.  Do not wash berries until you are ready to eat them. Remove the green cap after you have washed them.

Iowa-grown strawberries are a delicious part of a healthy diet at only 45 calories per serving.  Strawberries are low in calories but full of vitamin C, fiber, and magnesium, all of which helps with better digestion, lower blood pressure, and stronger bones.

Check out the harvest of other Iowa products by going to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship website.

Emerald Ash Borer Found In Johnson County
In other news announced by the Iowa Department of Agriculture, emerald ash borer, an insect that kills ash trees, has been found in Johnson County in eastern Iowa.

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An adult Emerald Ash Borer submitted by an Iowa City resident to the Iowa EAB Team has been positively identified as the destructive beetle by a federal identifier.  A follow-up examination of ash trees growing in the vicinity of where the beetle was collected has failed to confirm an infestation.

A statewide quarantine restricting the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into non-quarantined areas of other states was issued on Feb. 4, 2014 and remains in place.

"The discovery of an adult EAB without being able to find further evidence of an infestation is fairly unusual, but it does serve as another reminder to homeowners and communities in Iowa that the threat from this destructive beetle is very real," said state entomologist Robin Pruisner of the Iowa Department of Agriculture.  "The Iowa EAB Team will continue to work with officials in Johnson County and other communities to help them prepare, diagnose and respond to the threat posed by EAB."

Adult beetle submitted by resident, efforts underway to locate infestation
The Iowa EAB Team provides EAB diagnostic assistance to landowners and includes officials from Iowa Department of Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the USDA Forest Service.

The Iowa EAB Team strongly cautions Iowans not to transport firewood across county or state lines, since the movement of firewood throughout Iowa or to other states increases the risk of spreading EAB infestations. Most EAB infestations in the United States have been started by people unknowingly transporting infested firewood, nursery plants or sawmill logs. Besides being transported by vehicle, the adult beetle can also fly short distances of approximately two to five miles.

Contact Iowa EAB Team members to have suspicious looking trees checked. The State of Iowa will continue to track the movement of EAB on a county-by-county basis. Before a county can be officially recognized as infested, proof of a reproducing population is needed and an EAB must be collected and verified by USDA entomologists.

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To learn more about EAB and other pests that are threatening Iowa's tree population, please visit www.iowatreepests.com. Please contact any of the following members of the Iowa EAB Team for further information:

TAGS: USDA Extension
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