Strawberries may be a summer staple, but local farmers say these fruits actually taste best before the season even begins. So stock up on sweet spring strawberries
before the weather gets warmer.

"They'll be in season about another week, maybe two," said Becky Wilklow, of Wilklow Orchards — a Highland, New York, farm that sells its produce on the city's green market circuit.

Though strawberries are available at supermarkets year-round, fresh berries have a sweeter and juicier taste.

Strawberries are very perishable and don't ripen after they're picked, so look for plump red fruits with stems that haven't wilted.

Fresh strawberries cost about $3.50 per pint.

We recommend: Strawberries are ideal folded into crepes, blended into smoothies, and chopped into fruit salads. Try them sliced atop yogurt and cereal, too.

Decadent treat: Those who aren't counting calories should consider making an easy strawberry shortcake. Cut a store-bought biscuit in two and fill the “sandwich” with whipped cream and strawberries.

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Nutritional value: Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber, potassium and antioxidants.