Blueberry – food facts
Blueberries are a popular home garden and commercial crop; some varieties are indigenous in PA & other northeast states.
Varieties: high-bush are the most common in northeast, including PA; some commercial growers use low-bush variety
Related: cranberries, rhododendrons, azaleas
Harvest season in the LV: late June to early August
Growing conditions: blueberries do best in slightly acidic (pH 4.5–5.5) porous soil with high organic content & good drainage
Pollination: Some varieties have both male & female flowers on the same plant and may be self-pollinating; honeybees are the prime pollinator for many varieties.
Cooking/Preparation required: Best raw, can be dried or frozen & used in cooking; popular uses include eating raw, plain or mixed with yogurt or as part of a fruit salad); added to pancakes, pies, & other pastries
Fertilizers or pesticides: With good growing conditions, no fertilizers or pesticides are needed; if fertilizer is needed, soybean & alfalfa meal combine high nitrogen but don’t burn the roots. Pesticides are rarely needed in small plots, but commercial growers that are not organic may use a number of dangerous pesticides. Domestic blueberries just missed the ‘Dirty Dozen‘ list, so it might be advisable to choose organic blueberries.
Health considerations: Low in calories, blueberries are among the most nutrient-dense berries and are high in antioxidants (anthocyanin), vitamins C & K, manganese, and fiber; lower blood pressure & risk of heart disease, improve brain function.
Nutrient content can vary greatly depending on soil conditions, with organic methods and a soil rich in organic matter generally producing the best results.
‘Dirty Dozen’ or ‘Clean Fifteen’ lists do not necessarily apply to produce grown on local farms — you need to check with the farmer to determine if and when any fertilizers or pesticides were applied.