By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – Blueberries have the spotlight this month as the New Jersey Department of Agriculture celebrated National Blueberry Month on July 10 by visiting the shore towns of Wildwood, Atlantic City, and Seaside Heights to distribute free Jersey Fresh blueberries to beachgoers, in conjunction with the New Jersey Blueberry Industry Advisory Council.
Blueberry season, and more importantly, the month of July, is a special season for New Jersey, for the cultivated blueberry was first grown in New Jersey in 1916 by Elizabeth Coleman in Burlington County.
Coleman cultivated the first high-bush blueberry crop. An award was named after her called the Elizabeth Coleman White STEM Award, given to a nominee from the Outstanding Female Students of Burlington County Awards.
The New Jersey Blueberry Industry Advisory, which took part in the blueberry promotion, works to achieve the best way to have blueberries survive and thrive during and even when not in season.
According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, in 2022, blueberries were the number one crop in New Jersey, with a production value of $69 million.
Additionally, the state of New Jersey annually ranks in the top seven in the U.S. in the production of blueberries, with farmers harvesting 34 million pounds of blueberries on 7,300 acres just last year.
Blueberries are currently in season and will be until the end of July. Blueberry production can reach up to 250,000-300,000 crates daily during the season.
Since the vibrant blueberries are ripe for picking to snack on wherever you see them and are packed with various vitamins, nutrients, and health benefits, and are low in calories, make sure to grab the in-season berry while you can.
To see where Jersey Fresh blueberries are available locally and recipes that include fresh blueberries, click here.
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