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Crawford's Produce: It's the berries at the Forest Grove market

COURTESY PHOTO - Lene Zurita (left) and her mother Araceli Suano sell berries and vegetables at the Crawford's Produce booth each Wednesday at the Forest Grove Farmers Market.Deep purple marionberries, brilliant red strawberries, golden raspberries and cobalt blueberries create a rainbow effect at the Crawford’s Produce booth at the Forest Grove Farmers Market.

Mother and daughter Araceli Suano and Lene Zurita brighten the rainbow with their smiles as they proudly sell an array of fresh fruits, vegetables and berries each week.

The market is a program of local nonprofit Adelante Mujeres, Spanish for “women rise up, move forward.” The organization provides holistic education and empowerment opportunities to low-income Latina women and their families.

Crawford’s Produce has been a vendor at the market since its debut in the Safeway parking lot in 2005. Suano’s husband, Roberto Zurita, has been working for James Crawford at his Cornelius farm for over 27 years.

“It’s our second home,” Suano said.

“Our farm is like a family,” said daughter Lene Zurita, who accompanied her mom in the fields as an infant. “We all grew up there.”

Crawford’s Produce offers everything from green beans, corn, squash and pumpkins to cherries, strawberries and peppers. The majority of produce offered at the Crawford’s market booth is grown on the farm in Cornelius. To keep up with customer demand for stone fruit, they offer a variety of peaches, nectarines, apricots and cherries from sister farms in the Columbia Gorge. In Lene Zurita’s opinion, however, the berries are the booth’s star offering.

“My favorite products to sell are the golden raspberries, tayberries and gooseberries,” said Lene Zurita, “all of the berries that people don’t usually know about.”

Tayberries are a cross between blackberries and red raspberries, while gooseberries are similar to currants and grapes with a globe shape and typically have a red or green color. Marketgoers can ask Lene Zurita or Suano for samples to experience the unique spectrum of flavors each berry offers.

Crawford’s Farm also offers U-pick so customers can visit and stock up on their favorite berries. Those who wish to keep the taste of summer going all year can take advantage of free resources through OSU Extension services. From making jam to great tips for drying and freezing foods, look up tasty and safe recipes at extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-preservation.

Find Crawford’s Produce at the Forest Grove Farmers Market, which runs from 4 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday on Main Street through the end of October.

Megan Eatough is communications and volunteer coordinator at Adelante Mujeres. Kaely Summers manages the Forest Grove Farmers. Market.