Rhubarb and other spring produce is coming into season in Iowa. State ag secretary, Bill Northey, predicts a bountiful year for produce. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Rhubarb and other spring produce is coming into season in Iowa. State agriculture secretary, Bill Northey, predicts a bountiful year for produce. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Good news for our state’s vegetable farmers, for farmers markets and for you! Though cool weather has slowed some early spring produce, timely rains and no late killing frost bode well for Iowa’s fruit and vegetable crops.

You can find full details about Eastern Iowa farmers markets on the Homegrown list and read on for more about strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb and other early produce from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship:

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said many Iowa fruit and vegetable growers are anticipating large crops of spring produce.  Iowa grown fresh fruits and vegetables may be slightly delayed in some parts of the state due to the cool weather this April, so it is a good idea to contact area farmers to find the status of their crops.

Iowa’s first crops of the spring such as strawberries, asparagus and rhubarb are starting to become available across the state and should be followed in the next few weeks by leafy greens, radishes, carrots, green beans, and other late spring/early summer produce.

“It is always exciting when the first fruits and vegetables of the year become available at the farmers market or by visiting an on-farm store,” Northey said.  “It is important to check with your farmers market vendors or on-farm retailer to find out when they will have fresh produce available.”

The long winter, late snowfalls and cooler temps may have delayed the progress of specialty crops in some regions but the timely spring rains and avoidance of a late killing frost have left the state with what hopes to be one of the most bountiful fruit and vegetable crops in years.

There can be significant variation in timing of harvest between counties or even from one town to the next.  This graduated harvest, will allow you to enjoy fresh produce over a longer period of time and offer the opportunity for you to pack up the family and visit produce farms in different areas of the state.

Find a full list of Iowa farmers markets, farm stands or fruit and vegetable farms on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov<http://www.IowaAgriculture.gov> under “Data Searches and Directories” on the bottom right-hand side of the page.

Before heading to the farm, be sure to check their website or give them a call to check on their harvest status to ensure that you receive the freshest crop available. Many growers have websites or phone number to call to keep you abreast of their harvest status.

“I hope Iowan’s will take advantage of the many fruit and vegetable growers we have and who do a tremendous job of raising fresh, delicious, locally grown produce across our state,” Northey said.