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New York Local Foods: Strawberries in season now!

By Craig Kahlke & Robert Hadad

You know that summer is not far away when fresh fruits and vegetables become available at your local farmer’s markets.

And what could get folks (especially young children!) more excited than strawberries? Local strawberry farms, including pick-your-owns, are starting to have the first fruit of the season available. Although Mother Nature has not been very kind to Upstate NY residents in April & May, the berries seem to have pulled though the wet, unpredictable weather relatively unscathed.

Not only are strawberries simply delicious, but they are loaded with nutrients. They are excellent sources of vitamin C and fiber.
These little red fruits are also high in folate and potassium.
Besides vitamins and minerals, strawberries contain antioxidants, mainly in the form of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins, found in all common berries, along with cherries and grapes, are also responsible for the beautiful colors we see. The antioxidants make them a natural means of reducing the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.

These sweet red devils have only 55 calories per one cup serving, which contains 140% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C for children, so it makes sense to feed them strawberries regularly. Getting them some exercise by taking them strawberry-picking is a win-win situation as well!

Berries are simple to store – at home, sort and refrigerate in a dry container. Wash right before eating. They are great out of hand or eaten on top of cereal, yogurt, smoothies and desserts.

Locally grown produce is riper, flavorful, nutritious, and less expensive in many cases than produce that is grown elsewhere. This may especially be true this season, with high fuel prices expected to raise the cost of produce trucked in from the west coast, Florida, and other long-distance locations. In addition, buying local supports and sustains your local farms.

For more agriculture and nutrition information, call your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office. Go to http://cce.cornell.edu to find your local office.

Building Strong and Vibrant New York Communities
Cornell Cooperative Extension provides equal program and employment opportunities. NYS College and Life Sciences, NYS College of Human Ecology, and NYS College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, Cooperative Extension associations, county governing bodies, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating.

The column is written by Craig Kahlke and Robert Hadad, both of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Kahlke works in fruit quality management for Cornell’s Lake Ontario Fruit Program. Hadad is a fresh market specialist with the Cornell Vegetable Program.

Fruit Roll Ups

Makes 4 servings
Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe

Ingredients:
2 whole wheat tortillas
1/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 mango, cut into strips
4 large strawberries, sliced
1 banana, cut into 4 long strips

Directions:
1. Spread ricotta cheese over the tortillas.
2. Place half of the mango, sliced strawberries and 2 banana wedges on each tortilla.
3. Roll the tortillas up. Gently squeeze them to make sure the fruit sticks to the ricotta cheese.
4. Cut in half to serve. Enjoy!
5. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutrition Facts: Per Serving: 80 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5g Total Fat, 18.75% calories from fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 130mg Sodium, 15g Total Carbohydrates, 3g Dietary Fiber, 11g Sugars, 2g Protein, 70% Vitamin A, 6% Calcium, 60% Vitamin C, 6% Iron.

Source: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, courtesy of Caryn Hufford, Nutrition Resource Educator, CCE – of Niagara County.

**Nutrition Facts calculated by the Food Processor® Nutrition Analysis Software from ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon

Strawberry Romaine Salad

Serves 8
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
Salad
8 cups torn mixed greens (lettuce)
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated
into rings

Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup non-fat milk
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sugar, milk, poppy seeds and vinegar until blended. Chill dressing for half an hour.
2. In a large bowl, toss the salad greens, straw-berries, and onions. Add to salad dressing, toss and serve.

Source: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County, courtesy of Caryn Hufford, Nutrition Resource Educator, CCE – of Niagara County.

Nutrition Facts: Per Serving 200 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5g Total Fat, 15% calories from fat, 5mg Cholesterol, 115mg Sodium, 38g Total Carbohydrates, 3g Dietary Fiber, 21g Sugars, 5g Protein, 10% Vitamin A, 6% Calcium.

**Nutrition Facts calculated by the Food Processor® Nutrition Analysis Software from ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon.