There are so many ways to enjoy the pleasures of summer in the Valley — it all depends on your mood. Looking for something relaxing? Take a stroll through a formal garden or a cruise down the Hudson. Need more excitement? Watch a stock car race, rock out at a summer concert, or hurtle down a 600-foot water slide. The choices are endless. So gas up the car, and get going!
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When it comes to food, local is perhaps the buzzword of the day. Everywhere you turn, farmers markets are popping up. Gourmet shops, restaurateurs, and even your standard grocery store are all trying to lure new customers with the promise of local produce. And while many of us grow a wide array of vegetables in our backyards (well, tomatoes at least), fruit is another story. Luckily, our area is crammed with farms where you can pluck your favorite fruits to your heart’s content — and spend a family-friendly day in the great outdoors. Everyone knows the fall is synonymous with apple picking (just note the clogged roadways in our region), but late spring signals the arrival of strawberry season. Depending on the weather, the berries are usually ripe starting in late May or early June. The low-lying berries are fairly easy to pick, but farmers suggest that you go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the sweltering sunlight. Choose plump, firm, red, ready-to-eat berries; they don’t ripen after picking. Once you’re home, you can keep the berries in the fridge for up to three days before they lose their ripeness; or you can freeze them using a dry-sugar or syrup pack.
Salute the supreme strawberry at these two festivals:
Blueberries This popular fruit has a growing reputation as an antioxidant “superfood.” There are two varieties: wild blueberries, which can be found throughout the Valley, are particularly abundant in the Shawangunk Mountains — where rumor has it that squatters built shacks (some of which survive) just to pick the little berries. Cultivated blueberries — which are larger and juicier — are farm-grown; both types are in season from July to September. To get the ripest fruit, use your thumb to gently roll each berry from the cluster into the palm of your hand.
Peaches In season from July to September, the tastiest fruit separates easily from the twig when plucked.
Raspberries When picking this fruit, which ripens from July through October, gently pull on the berry. If it is ripe, part of its center will remain on the stem.
Want to skip ahead? Click on one of these links to:
Become a Beach Bum! Play a Round of Miniature Golf! Get Creative Outdoors! Go to the Zoo! Go Fruit-picking! See some Al Fresco Art! Get Fast and Furious! Visit a Formal Garden! Take in a Horse Show! Rent a Bike on the Walkway! Take a River Cruise! Go to a Water Park! Go to the Drive-in! Enjoy an Outdoor Concert! Picnic at Vanderbilt Mansion! Ride the Rails! Indulge in Dining Delights!
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