Pick local produce this summer

Published 9:16 pm Monday, May 2, 2016

As I drove down Bennett’s Pasture Road one morning last week, I pondered what to pick up for lunch.

The delicious, sun-sweetened answer nearly slapped me in the face.

I couldn’t turn my car around fast enough when I realized that Lilley Farms’ pick-your-own strawberry field was open and overflowing with sweet, red berries.

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I turned around, picked up a quart of fresh berries and ate every single one as I drove to the office. No doubt, I ingested a little dirt — but it was still probably the healthiest “lunch” I had all week. Hands down, strawberries are my favorite fruit — at least, until my box of South Carolina peaches arrives in July.

One thing I love about this time of year is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Local farmers’ markets are open (the ones in Suffolk and Smithfield are all fabulous) and vendors come with plenty of seasonal, fresh-picked fare. And with the summer just starting, I know the pickings are just going to get better.

Until a couple of years ago, my family participated in a Community-Supported Agriculture program. Every week, we picked up a basket of fresh vegetables: onions, leeks, lettuce, bok choy, corn, potatoes, tomatoes and seemingly endless supply of turnips. While I could have survived happily without turnips, I loved getting those bountiful baskets every week.

So enjoy the summer — and celebrate those fresh fruits and vegetables.

Eat up!