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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Ripe Question

This morning I logged into the reference desk computer and found a somewhat cryptic Meebo question waiting for me. “When do these ripen?” I expected the question to be accompanied by the name of a fruit or veggie, or by a picture or link at least. But no. The only thing that followed this question was a lonely, seemingly errant backslash symbol.

I had no idea which food or foods our Meebo patron would like to know about, but Elisabeth had a wonderful suggestion, which was to direct our patron to the resources offered by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Their website has several features that can help you determine the best times to find ripe vegetables and fruits.

The Fresh Produce Availability Calendar shows what times of the year specific foods are available. It includes a planting guide if you want to try your hand at planting your own crops. The guide features a section that divides crops into those that are planted in cool weather and those that are planted in warm weather and gives corresponding planting dates for each food in each category.

The MDAC website also provides a fruit and vegetable directory for the state. Organized by fruit/vegetable and county, the directory gives the names and contact information of commodity producers and sellers throughout the state. It’s an excellent resource if you’re looking for sellers who specialize in specific foods.

If you just want to learn more about some of your favorite foods, the MDAC website has a place for that, too. With the Mississippi Agriculture Commodity Directory, you can learn more about several of Mississippi’s agricultural products. There are fact sheets for some vegetables and fruits grown in the state, like blueberries and muscadines. There are also fact sheets for several other commodities, including catfish, beef, poultry, and soybeans, just to name a few.

I hope this helps you find what you’re looking for, Meebo Patron. If not, let us know!

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