Strawberry season in full swing in West Tenn.
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TOONE, Tenn. — May officially begins on Friday, kicking off “National Strawberry Month,” just as strawberry growers across the area open their fields to anyone who wants berries fresh from the farm. Local growers say there is no strawberry sweeter than the one you pick yourself. “You’re picking the freshest product, so you’ve got the product that you’ve selected, that you’ve picked,” said Tammy Algood with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. “And especially if you get kids involved in that processes, it really pulls the kid into liking the product even more.” Strawberry farms such as this one in Hardeman County have opened their fields as their berries ripen. Experts say fresh berries taste better than store-bought berries in taste tests every time. Farm owner Bart Gilmer says you know the strawberries are fresh here, which may not be the case if your strawberries are shipped from somewhere else. “Strawberries that are shipped, they are certain varieties that look really nice, but they’ve bred those varieties to look a specific way, and during the course of that they’ve lost a lot of the flavor and sweetness,” he said. Algood said laying strawberries flat is the best way to store strawberries for freshness. She also says don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them so they don’t retain water. And Algood says it’s not just strawberries you can buy from local farmers. “This is a great opportunity to people to come out to the farm, bring their families, enjoy the experience and get some really good food at the same time,” he said. In the 1930s, Tennessee was the world’s largest producer of strawberries. For more information on where to find fresh strawberries and produce in your area, look for the link in the Seen on 7 section of our website.