Food in the news: Strawberries are coming

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Despite a late cold snap, state strawberry growers are expecting a strong season that will last until the first part of June.

Patterson Farms, Wetmore and Eagle say they’ll have a few strawberries next week, and more coming the first week in May. Strawberries are a little later this year due to the strange weather. Other area growers will probably be on the same schedule.

“The winter was challenging, but local growers prevailed by using a combination of row covers and irrigation to preserve the crop with minimal loss,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

Growers in the southeastern part of the state have already started picking. Consumers in the Piedmont can expect to find berries by early May. And those in Western North Carolina should see berries from the first of May through the first half of June. Berries should be in good supply across the state by Mother’s Day, May 10.

Several special events are planned to celebrate the season, including the N.C. Strawberry Festival in Chadbourn April 29-May 2. The annual celebration features a parade, scholarship pageant, live music and strawberry quality contests.

Strawberry Day events also will be held May 14 at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh; May 15 at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market in Charlotte; May 22 at the Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax; and May 29 at the Western N.C. Farmers Market in Asheville.

The events will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and include free samples of strawberry ice cream, strawberry recipe brochures, an appearance by Suzy Strawberry and plenty of fresh, local strawberries for purchase. The Raleigh and Colfax events also will have a strawberry recipe contest with cash prizes.

North Carolina is the nation’s fourth-largest producer of strawberries and has the country’s largest fresh market for strawberries. Consumers can find local strawberries at roadside stands, farmers markets, area grocery stores and pick-your-own farms across the state.

To find locations near you, go to or

Licensed to Grill

Grill and chill at Rowan Public Library’s final workshop in the Learn. Act. Grow. series, where you will learn to reinvent boring cookout foods using savory grilling techniques.

 With constant demands at home and work, it’s no surprise that we struggle to fit everything into 24 short hours. At Rowan Public Library, our mission is to inspire your spirit of exploration, power your imagination, feed your joy of reading, and empower your lifelong pursuit of knowledge. In January, we launched our second series of Learn. Act. Grow. workshops.

Admission to our fifth and final workshop, Licensed to Grill, is by ticket only. Tickets were obtained by participating in one or more of the previous Learn. Act. Grow. 2015 workshops. Registration for this event will open on April 28 and seating is limited. This cookout will feature tips on how to grill healthy alternatives to traditional cookout fair. A full meal will be provided by Morrison Healthcare and local grillmaster Chuck Misenheimer. 

Join us from 5:45-7 p.m. on Monday, May 18, at the South Rowan Regional Library in China Grove.

 While there is no charge to participate, registration is required. Visit or call 704-216-7841 to register, or for more information.

Big festival at Duplin

The largest winery in the South, Duplin Winery of Rose Hill, will host its fourth annual Our Main Squeeze Festival on Saturday, May 2. The gates will open at 10 a.m.; festivities will start at 11 a.m. and continue until 7 p.m. The event will be held at the Duplin County Events Center and is open to the public.

The Our Main Squeeze Festival honors the nation’s military, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Fisher House, a non-profit organization providing a network of homes where military families can stay near their ill or injured family members.

The festival showcases Duplin County’s native grapes. Festivities include food, live music and Duplin wine. Vendors will be on-site with a variety of handmade crafts, beer and food available for purchase.

Tickets for the general public will be $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event at the gate. Free tickets will be available to the first 2,000 members of the military with a military ID.

Throughout the day, there will be a variety of live music performances. Beach music will be played by Jim Quick and Coastline Band from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and The Band of Oz from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The Liquid Pleasure Super Show, from 4 to 7 p.m., will feature performances of a wide variety of classic tunes.