Side Orders: It's a berry good time of year

Fresh strawberries are used in strawberry shortcake, strawberry pies and cobbler at Countryside Cafe. / Photo by Mark Gilliland

Neither wind nor rain or chance of polar vortex will keep strawberry growers from their appointed rounds - and we've seen it all so far in 2019.

"Strawberries are very susceptible to diseases due to being such a soft and fleshy fruit," says local grower Bill Perry. "The weather is harder on strawberries than most other fruits and vegetables, so that means it takes less of a swing in weather to damage them."

Perry and his business partner, Aubie Smith, have three acres of strawberries on their farm at 9626 Ooltewah-Georgetown Road. The farm, Smith-Perry Berries, is open for pick-your-own fun - a wonderful family outing - or buy them already picked at the farm or at the Ooltewah farmers market every Thursday during strawberry season.