It's blinding but a joy, and it has me anticipating another spring tradition, the return of local produce. Farm stands and farmers' markets will open soon. Right away, that means jarred honey and fresh baked bread. Before too long, they'll add juicy giant tomatoes, plump cucumbers, and at least one very lucky watermelon, which will be carried to my tailgate and sliced open right there on the roadside.
Check these handy guides to see when your favorite farm stands and markets are back in business:
Asheville: The Paris of the South has more than hippy artists playing bongos on the street corners. And that's saying something.
Charlottesville: Adding to C-ville's many downtown charms, is the place to be on Saturdays.
Knoxville: Find out where those impossibly juicy peaches you picked up last Sunday originated. In addition to a twice weekly market, the downtown association offers To the Source Farm Tours and other exciting events.
Roanoke: This is farmers' market deluxe. It is open year round. Dozens of farmers line the city streets, displaying their goodies on permanent tables under shaded awnings.
West Virginia -- Collaborative for the 21st Century has an entire state covered. It lists not only farm stands and farmers' markets but also restaurants and other locations that use West Virginia products.