2012 PRESS RELEASES
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May 4, 2012
IT’S SPRINGTIME - EAT THE VIEW
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686
It’s a beautiful time of year to take a drive in Virginia. Flowering trees, fields that are beginning to green, rushing streams gorged with spring rainfall are common sights in the countryside. It’s all so pretty you could just eat the view.
Actually, you can do just that at Virginia’s farmers’ markets, roadside stands, pick-your-own farms, agri-tourism sites, grocery stores, specialty shops and even big box stores. The season for fresh Virginia Grown products is kicking into full gear, so don’t just enjoy the view. Eat it.
See those fields of strawberries. Look all you want, but be sure to taste, too. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) offers an interactive database at its website VirginiaGrown.com. A search for strawberries yields nine pages of listings, from farmers’ markets and pick-your-own farms to CSAs and agri-tourism sites.
Along with strawberries, this time of year you’ll see and taste fresh field greens, onions, herbs, peas, asparagus, cabbage and more. Many products are early this year, so in a couple of weeks, you’ll start seeing cucumbers, green beans, squash and white potatoes.
In coastal and Bay areas right now, you’ll see fishing and crabbing boats out early for the day’s catch. Enjoy the view, visit a farmers’ market or roadside stand and then eat ’til your heart’s content. Atlantic mackerel, sea bass, blue crab, bluefish, catfish, clams, croaker, flounder, scallops, scup, sea trout, soft shell crabs and spot are in season now, as picturesque as they are tasty.
A quick search on VirginiaGrown.com yields a dozen farmers’ markets that sell seafood and nine more that sell fish. Many of these are in coastal areas like Gloucester, Virginia Beach or Onancock, but you’ll also find markets in the Shenandoah Valley and the Richmond area. When you search “all” categories, not just farmers’ markets, you’ll find seven pages of listings statewide.
By the end of June and the first of July, markets and farms will be bursting with eggplants, mushrooms, peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelons and more of summer’s bounty. Farmers’ Markets may offer heritage varieties of tomatoes or eggplant and crops such as carrots, okra, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and many different colors and varieties of beans.
By August the view will include the first apples and sweet potatoes. As fall approaches, look for pears, pumpkins, additional varieties of apples, fall greens, broccoli, winter squash and more. In November and December, not only can you eat the view, you can smell it with pines, spruces, firs and other varieties of a fresh-cut Virginia Grown Christmas trees.
How can you be sure you’re buying Virginia Grown products? When you buy directly from the farmer or on the farm, the guarantee is implicit. At grocery stores, look for Virginia Grown or Locally Grown signs, banners, labels or price cards. If you don’t see them, ask. And if the store doesn’t carry local products, tell the manager that it is important to you to buy local. Not many customers have to express a preference for local products before stores start carrying them.
Let’s get going, Virginia. Get in the car, strap on your bike helmet, saddle up the horse or grab your walking poles. Enjoy the view and the variety of tastes it offers.