Somehow, it just isn’t spring until we eat our fill of ripe, red, sinfully delicious strawberries from the Virginia Beach hamlet of Pungo.

Throughout the season, folks can find their way here and either pick their own berries from the fields in this agriculturally rich area of the city or grab a pint (or two, or six) and go.

Another rite of spring is the Pungo Strawberry Festival, now in its 33rd year. The event, which offers you berries in just about every form imaginable, along with other fun activities akin to a county fair, takes place Memorial Day weekend, May 28–29.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries is in a salsa, which is great with chips, atop seafood (try it on crab cakes!), on chicken breasts grilled out on the barbecue or atop small, pre-baked pizza crusts.

Here is my Berried Treasure Strawberry Salsa recipe:

Cap, hull and dice one pint fresh strawberries; pit and dice one medium avocado; and pit and dice one medium mango. Add to a medium bowl, and toss with the juice of one freshly-squeezed lime. Add two seeded and chopped plum tomatoes, one seeded and minced jalapeno, two cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. Toss to mix and coat. Cover and refrigerate for two hours before serving.

For more information on the Pungo Strawberry Festival, call 757-721-6001 or visit

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