Sarah Jordan loves to help out at her family’s farm located in Rutland, Massachusetts. Sarah recently joined her grandmother, uncle, aunt, and cousins to pick blueberries for delivery to farm stands and farmers’ markets throughout the area. The berries are picked fresh in the morning, cleaned and then delivered to markets.
This year’s local blueberry crop came a little bit earlier than usual due to a mild spring and are now ripe for the picking. For a fun family outing, there are 67 pick-your-own blueberry farms plus hundreds of farmers’ markets and roadside stands from which to choose.
Native to North America, blueberries, or Vaccinium corymbosum, are perennial flowering plants in the same family as cranberries. Varieties of blueberries more commonly grown in Massachusetts are Berkley, Bluecrop, Coville and Earliblue. Massachusetts is number two in the U.S. for wild blueberry production and rank 17th for high bush (cultivated) blueberries.
Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants that may prevent diseases such as cancer. In addition, this small but mighty fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, manganese and fiber. An extremely versatile berry, these fruits can be used in many recipes such as pies, muffins, jams, jellies and smoothies. They are definitely worth the purple tongue you’ll get afterwards from eating them!
For more information and directions to Massachusetts' blueberry farms, farmers' markets, pick-your-own berry farms, and roadside produce stands, visit http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map.htm.