Photo by Sara Coffin

Spring means strawberry season in Lee County, and Sanford is set to honor its sweetest crop with the Sanford Farmers’ Market’s first Strawberry Jammin’ event on May 8.

Presented by Downtown Sanford Inc. and the Sanford Tourism Development Authority, Strawberry Jammin’ will be held during the second Farmers’ Market of the season and will allow guests to “dive into everything strawberry.”

From the fruit itself to the cultivation and harvesting process and all the ways one can prepare them, the event promises to be an educational experience, said TDA executive director Wendy Bryan.

“We brainstormed on how we could focus on agriculture at this year’s Second Saturday event, and the idea of strawberries was pitched by Bill Stone [Lee County’s extension director],” Bryan said. “So guests can learn about preserving strawberries, get recipes from our friends at Mrs. Lacy’s for strawberry shortcake and take part in the strawberry food stroll. We’ll have live music, restaurants will feature their strawberry-influenced creations, and Hugger Mugger Brewery will even have a strawberry beer. It’s going to be a big deal.” 

Jammin’ Seminars with Alyssa Anderson

Looking to make your delicious berry bounty last well past the season? Join Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Alyssa Anderson for live strawberry preservation seminars and demonstrations. She’ll show you tips and tricks on freezing, drying and canning to help you get the most enjoyment out of your fruit haul.

As a registered dietician, Anderson believes in helping everyone eat more fruits and vegetables. One way to do that and support local agriculture is by promoting local foods and fresh produce available at places like the Sanford Farmers’ Market.

“Many people who grow or purchase local foods are also curious about preserving them for when they are no longer in season,” she says. “This is where safe food preservation becomes important for not only preventing foodborne illness but also enjoying a high-quality product.”

A “Berry” Special Guest | Faye Schulz

As the owner of local restaurant Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House, Faye Schulz has authored cookbooks and is recognized as making some of the best desserts in Lee County. She was also named Main Street Champion by the North Carolina Department of Commerce for her commitment to downtown revitalization.

To honor her grandmother, Schulz opened Mrs. Lacy’s in 1995. The restaurant has quickly become a downtown Sanford destination especially among women’s groups in central North Carolina. Visitors especially come to sip Schulz’s famous strawberry lemonade, delight in her desserts and lounge a bit on the restaurant’s wraparound porch.

Schulz will meet and greet guests at Strawberry Jammin’. She’ll also be selling and signing her cookbooks, including the Mrs. Lacy’s Magnolia House Cookbook. As an extra treat, festival goers will also get a taste of her famous strawberry shortcake in a jar.