A berry good time for summer

Farm-fresh summer berries are still in season at the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market, but according to Amy Yates of Amy's Blueberries, fans of the antioxidant-rich fruit should hurry.

"This is my third picking, so I probably have two more weeks," Yates said at Tuesday's market.

Yates grows three varieties of blueberries: the chandler, early blue and blue ray, from newly purchased farmland in Coquille. The berries are hand-picked and sorted into flats two days before they go to market, and they are certified organic by Oregon Tilth, Yates said.

"They grow better if you cross-pollinate," she said, adding, "They're right next to the north fork of the Coquille River."

Blueberry season may be ending, but berry lovers can take comfort knowing that Joshua Farms of Gold Hill expects to have organic strawberries of the Seascape variety until October, according to Produce Manager Antonio Ruiz.

"I really like this variety because I keep watering them, and they keep growing," Ruiz said, "they're sweet and tasty."

Joshua Farms is currently featuring strawberries, but watermelons and cantaloupes are almost ready, Ruiz says.

Joshua Farms can be found at the market Tuesdays and Saturdays, and can be reached by phone at 245-0850 or JoshuaFarms@hotmail.com.

Amy's Blueberries attends the market Tuesdays, and can be reached at 396-1899 or amysblueberries@yahoo.com.

The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market is held on Tuesdays at the Ashland Armory, 1420 E. Main St., from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday Market is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot at the corner of Lithia and First streets. For more information, call 261-5045.

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