Strawberry growers across Iowa are starting to welcome customers and are expecting 2016 to be a prime picking season beginning in earnest in early June. In many parts of the state, strawberries have been a little slow to ripen this year, but the recent increase in temperature has helped the berries mature. Many Iowa growers are predicting a very good strawberry crop this season.
Iowa has a number of you-pick strawberry farms now open
“Fresh picked strawberries are a delicious treat that often kickoff the growing season and summer full of enjoying fresh, Iowa-grown fruits and vegetables,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “Visiting a local farmers market or going to a you-pick farm is a great way to find fresh berries that can be enjoyed fresh, used in baking or preserved as jellies or jams.”
Once picked, strawberries do not continue to ripen like some fruits and vegetables. So when you are picking strawberries, you should select vibrant red berries. Strawberries have a short shelf life and should be eaten within a few days of being picked.
Strawberries are low in calories, fat-free and nutritious
In addition to tasting great, strawberries are low in calories and fat-free, in fact one-cup of unsweetened strawberries only has 55 calories. Strawberries are also a good source of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and fiber.
“Support a local grower and treat your family to a fun-filled trip to the strawberry patch and you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime,” says Northey. If visiting a strawberry patch, be sure to call or check the website for their harvest information.
You can find strawberry growers by visiting the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s Fruit and Vegetable Farms Directory online. It’s at www.idalsdata.org/fmnp/index.cfm or visit the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association “farm search” page at www.ifvga.org/en/about_us/farm_search/.