Coastal produce season starts with strawberries

Submitted by OcracokeWaves on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 15:15.

In coastal North Carolina the first we see of our farmer operated produce stands is when the strawberries get ripe each year.

In spring of 2007, our first full spring on the Southern Outer Banks, the strawberries were ripe on April 13.  In 2008 we actually got strawberries in late March.  Both 2009 and 2010 were later than this year by a few days.

From my short experience, it looks like the strawberries ripen within a window of about three weeks from the end of March until the last week in April.  When strawberries are ripe compared to previous years gives us a good metric to measure the progress of spring.   While we had an exceptionally cold winter for coastal North Carolina, we appear to have recovered nicely.

Spring is unfolding as it should across the south. While we had a recent late frost and a close brush with some recent nasty weather, dogwoods and azaleas are blooming.  The waters are warming, and I am starting to dream a little about beaches just like in previous years, but the difference this year is that it has been warm enough to be close to the water in March. We could use some rain, but we are not desperate like many areas.

Winter was made shorter by a run of very nice weather in March, and it was then I got the chance to do some great exploring over on the Point and to even go kayaking a little earlier than normal. In April I have even managed a second kayaking trip.

This third week of April, I am hoping for another beach walk or two.  The second week involved a lot of paperwork, but that is now behind me, and I started my celebration on April 17 with some bluebird pictures.  We finished the day with homemade strawberry shortcake and lots of fresh strawberries from Buck's Corner Farm just off Highway 58 at Peletier.

While the strawberry season often stretches into June, you never know when the heat will  find the coast, and  then strawberries will disappear while there will be only one real solution to the heat, and that is to get in the ocean.

Before beach season is on us, there is plenty of time to eat strawberries.  The Buck's Corner folks are located just off Highway 58 at 338 Whitehouse Fork Rd. in Peletier.  The phone number is (252) 728-8147 if you want directions or to check for berries before you go. They are only 2.25 miles north of the Highways 58 & 24 stoplights.  There are directional signs on Highway 58.  There area other spots for berries, and I'll report on those as I come across them.

Good luck and enjoy the first fresh local fruit of the season.