HILLSVILLE—Beets can be a delicious summer side dish, as well as a colorful addition to an otherwise green salad. Fresh, locally grown beets are relatively easy to find in Virginia farmers’ markets, and that isn’t the case in other parts of the United States, said Spencer Neale, commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. 'As the season rolls in, we’re reminded of the diversity of produce we’re able to grow here in Virginia. We can grow a variety of things that provide healthy, nutritious meals.' The Southwest Farmers’ Market in Hillsville draws people looking for beets, said market operations technician Teresa Sharp. 'Chopped-up beets actually go very well in potato salad, if you want it a little tart,' she said. 'They also taste delicious with pinto beans. And of course they always make an excellent addition to salad .' Beets can also be nutritionally beneficial. 'Beets have a lot of iron in them, and they’re a great source of calcium,' Sharp said. According to the American Heart Association, beets are also an excellent source of fiber that can decrease cardiovascular risk. Beets typically are in season from late spring into summer in Virginia. Contact Neale at 804-290-1153 or Sharp at 276-730-3128.