RALEIGH — Despite a late March freeze that affected early varieties of blueberries grown in North Carolina, marketing specialists with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services anticipate plenty of later varieties available for consumers to enjoy.
“This has been an unusual growing season for local blueberry growers, but that’s exactly why they plant so many different varieties,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The quality and quantity of later varieties should be good through July.”
North Carolina is the sixth-largest producer of blueberries in the nation, with about 8,000 acres of blueberries grown in the state, said Dexter Hill, NCDA&CS marketing specialist. In 2015, blueberry production was valued at $77.9 million. The majority of blueberries grown in the state are sold to retail stores, Hill said. When buying blueberries, the department encourages consumers to look for “North Carolina” on the label.
To celebrate the season, the department will host two Blueberry Days in June, where visitors can enjoy free samples of blueberry desserts and find fresh blueberries for sale. The State Farmers Market in Raleigh will host Blueberry Day on June 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax will host Blueberry Day on June 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Consumers can find information about N.C. blueberries and a variety of blueberry recipes on the N.C. Blueberry Council website at www.ncblueberries.com.
— North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
For more news from North Carolina, click here.