Food - Drink
Why Farmers Almost Gave Up On Blueberries
Blueberries play a big role in the produce industry, and it’s not hard to see why; their versatility makes them perfect for a wide range of dishes and they boast some impressive health benefits. Native to North America, blueberries have been foraged since ancient times, but farmers only figured out how to cultivate them about 100 years ago.
Farmers of the early 1900s had an unbelievably hard time growing blueberries, but botanist Frederick Coville and farmer Elizabeth White worked out a solution. The domesticated blueberry crop raised by Coville and White took five years to produce sellable berries, but by the mid-1900's, blueberries finally became a produce giant.
The key to blueberry cultivation was to transplant wild blueberry bushes from the woods into sunny fields with soil that was specifically suited for the crop: acidic, moist, and well-draining. Today, most blueberry varieties do best in cool climates, but some can thrive in warmer places, and the crop has spread far outside North America.