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In season this month

It's always good to know which fruits and vegetables are at their peak in the Washington area as you plan your July get-togethers:

VIRGINIA: Nectarines, blackberries, peaches and raspberries are especially strong, says Matt Benson, a specialist with the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Apples will show near the end of the month. Look for local cucumbers and squashes now; good sweet corn and tomatoes are due in about two weeks. Greens including spinach and lettuce have hit the markets and will start to phase out this month but will return come fall.

MARYLAND: According to Leslie Hart, an agricultural marketing specialist for Washington County, it's prime time for blackberries (with thorns), cantaloupe, honeydew, nectarines, peaches, plums and watermelons. Raspberries, blueberries and cherries are still going strong. This month's vegetables: beans, beets, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, okra, peppers, white potatoes and squash.

WHAT TO WATCH: Experts say local farmers have had a standout berry season. “Strawberries seemed exceptionally sweet this year,” says Hart -- partly because winter weather did not chill the soil like it has in previous years, allowing the berry plants to grow more abundantly, according to Benson.

Now that summer temperatures have set in, farmers and extension agents are keeping close tabs on how a regional drought could affect fall offerings of produce. The dry weather has already affected this year’s corn crop, says Hart, which is “good but has been a little fuller in the past.”

-- Naomi Nix

By Naomi Nix  |  July 8, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  In Season  | Tags: in season  
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