May is prime time for fresh N.C. strawberries. To celebrate the season, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the N.C. Strawberry Association partnered to highlight local strawberries in grocery stores and commissaries statewide. The promotion included special signage and recipe cards in the produce sections of Lowes Foods, Ingles and Piggly Wiggly grocery stores, as well as all of the state military commissaries.
Select Lowes Foods and Ingles stores also hosted cooking demonstrations featuring easy-to-make strawberry recipes. On May 15, the Lowes Foods on High House Road in Cary hosted such an event with a spinach, feta and strawberry salad. More than a dozen pounds of N.C. strawberries were sold during the first hour of the event.
Strawberry and Chicken Pizza
1 pizza crust
1 cup chopped N.C. strawberries
1 cup precooked chicken fajita strips
4 strips applewood smoked bacon, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup strawberry jam
2 tablespoons srirachi sauce or hot sauce of your choice
1 1/2 cups pizza blend shredded cheese
1 tsp dried cilantro
Cook bacon, chop and set aside. Warm chicken in pan and set aside. Reduce vinegar in pan about 1 minute. Add jam and hot sauce, remove from heat. Stir 2 tablespoons vinegar sauce with chicken. Brush pizza crust with remaining vinegar sauce. Top crust with three-fourths of the cheese, then layer strawberries, chicken, bacon and onion. Sprinkle remaining cheese and cilantro. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is crispy.
More information about N.C. strawberries, including recipes and pick-your-own farm locations, is available at www.ncagr.gov/strawberries.