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Vernon  

First Okanagan strawberries a tasty treat at farmers markets

First taste of berry season

The first tastes of the Okanagan fresh fruit season are available at local farmers markets.

The arrival of local strawberries heralds the beginning of the Okanagan fruit season, which follows with cherries, plums, peaches, and winds up with apples in the fall.

The local berries are always highly sought after – and Thursday was no different at the Vernon Farmers Market, as Hoa Mai sold out of 10 fresh-picked flats of strawberries in less than an hour.

Mai grows the fruit on her Old Kamloops Road acreage, and says he'll have more ready for Monday's market.

"They tend to do better in hot weather, but they also need rain, too," she says, so the length of the season is weather dependent.

"The perfect weather would be sunny days and rainy nights."

Another must-have early season local item is asparagus.

But don't wait – the season is short.

Jesse Stich of Good 'n' Plenty produce in Armstrong says the season will begin winding down next week.

"Sales have been good ... people come out just for it. They've just got to have it. The asparagus is always a hot seller."

Market co-ordinator Frances Callaghan other local produce that's already available includes spinach, radishes and salad greens.

Since reopening for the outdoor season, Callaghan says the response has been "wonderful."

"Customers had been waiting for it ... you can't compare to the outdoor experience," she said.

More than 100 vendors were on site at Kal Tire Place on Thursday.

The entrance layout has changed and vendors are now allowed to be closer since the relaxation of some pandemic health precautions.



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