Originally created 06/14/06

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Follow these tips to keep the produce you buy from roadside stands and farmers markets fresh, ripe and tasting the best:

STRAWBERRIES: Pick them on cool morning hours to prolong shelf life. The berries won't continue to ripen after harvest, so pick fully red berries and refrigerate them. Soft or damp berries should be used as soon as possible. Don't wash them until just before you use them. They can be stored two to six days at 33 to 34 degrees in high humidity.

TOMATOES: Ripe tomatoes can be stored at room temperature for a few days, or refrigerated for as long as a week. Unripened tomatoes can be ripened at room temperature in a loosely closed paper bag for a couple of days away from direct sunlight, with good ventilation and high humidity. Don't ripen green tomatoes further; cook or pickle them as soon as possible.

WATERMELONS: Store in 35 to 50 degree temperatures for best shelf life, but whole melons can be kept at room temperature seven to 10 days without significant quality loss. Cover cut melons with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

PEACHES: To ripen firm peaches, store them between 65 to 70 degrees with a relative humidity of 95 percent. Expect them to be ripe within two to four days. Ripe peaches can be stored for three to four days in a refrigerator at 40 degrees. Put them in a plastic bag, if stored more than three days, to prevent dehydration.

GREENS: Wrap them in damp paper towels, place them in a perforated plastic bag and refrigerate. Bought fresh and wrapped in damp paper towels, they'll keep for a week.

SWEET CORN: Refrigerate the husks as soon as you can. Never store sweet corn at room temperature. If you purchase it warm, cool it rapidly, placing the husks in a single layer on a refrigerator shelf for half a day. The ideal storage temperature is 40 degrees. Remove the shank on the bottom and silk at the tip to refrigerate. Put shucked corn in a perforated plastic bag.

Source: South Carolina Farm Bureau



CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The monthly meeting of the Midland Valley Area Chamber of Commerce will begin at noon at Bobby's Bar-B-Q Buffet and Catering, 1897 Jefferson Davis Highway, Warrenville. Scott Edgeworth will talk about safe summer driving. For more information, call (803) 645-4429.

MUSEUM EXHIBIT: A free exhibit, Freedom USA, will run through June 21 at the Aiken County Historical Museum, 433 Newberry St. S.W. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 2-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Call (803) 642-2015 for more information.


BEST CHEFS OF THE SOUTH SERIES: Rodney Freidank, the executive chef of Restaurant O in Greenville, S.C., will be the featured chef at the Partridge Inn, 2110 Walton Way, as part of the Best Chefs of the South series. Hors d'oeuvres will be served at 6:30 p.m. and a four-course dinner at 7 p.m. The cost is $79. For more information, call (706) 737-8888.

BATTY IN THE SWAMP: Phinizy Gone Batty will begin at 7 p.m. at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, 1858 Lock and Dam Road, as part of the Family Discovery Series. Carol Jackson will discuss bats. The Pfizer Pavilion will open at 6 p.m. for picnics. Donations are accepted. Call (706) 828-2109.

THE PIANO LESSON: The play will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, 1116 Phillips St., as part of the Augusta Wilson Reader's Series. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students. Call (706) 724-3576 for more information.

PARK IT FOR MUSIC: Pantasia Steel Drum Band will perform at 7 p.m. at Maude Edenfield Park, 400 Buena Vista Ave., North Augusta, as part of the free Music in the Park concert series. Visitors can bring chairs and a picnic supper. For more information, call (803) 442-7588.

DEMENTIA CARE TRAINING FOR FAMILY CAREGIVERS: The workshop, conducted by the Alzheimer's Association, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gordon Club, 19th Street, Building 18402, Fort Gordon. Lunch will be provided. Seating is limited, and registration is required by today. For more information, call (706) 731-9060.


TREASURES AND JEWELS: The program will take place at 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Evans, at Washington and Belair roads. The cost is $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors. Call (706) 650-2311 or visit www. ccchoralsociety.org.


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