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Insane facts about the history of blueberries
- The modern blueberry is a 20th-century invention. Prior to this time, the only way to enjoy blueberries was to scavenge for them in the wild!
- Blueberries were gathered and used by Native Americans for centuries before colonists arrived from Europe. Except the Native Americans called them “star berries” because the five points of blueberry blossoms form a star shape.
- Early colonists boiled blueberries in milk and made gray paint out of them.
- That traditional blue paint that was used in the homes of the Shakers was also made from blueberry skins and milk. But they added indigo and sage blossoms.
- During the American Civil War of the 1860s, blueberries were collected and sent to troops in care packages for use as a food staple.
- Nowadays, blueberries are simple to grow in your backyard if you choose types that are resistant to pests and diseases.
- There are 5 major types of blueberries grown in the United States including lowbush, northern highbush, southern highbush, rabbiteye and half-high.
- Blueberries bushes vary in size from 10 centimeters to 13 feet in height!
- Blueberries are native to North America, and the highbush varieties were not introduced into Europe until the 1930s.
- From the genus vaccinium, blueberries are related to rhododendrons, azaleas, cranberries and bilberries.
Growing & planting blueberry tips that will drive you wild
- Proper air circulation will deter disease and pest problems.
- Blueberries grow best in acidic soil at a pH of four to five. If you don’t know what your soil is like contact your local Cooperative Extension service. Trust me….they know all!
- The first year is about water. And continue watering when fruit appears. At the first sign of fruit, top dress with composted manure.
- Plant more bushes and shrubs close to your home where more foot traffic may discourage wild animals! We used all our plastic yard toys to deter pests and it worked! Drape netting over the bushes to protect the fruit.
- Blueberries are self-pollinating, but you will get a fuller pollination with more than one plant. True Vine Ranch selected early, middle and late varieties that will produce successively from late spring till summer’s end.
Eatin’ & storin’ & harvestin’ ideas that can’t be ignored!
- When grown organically, you can eat blueberries out of your hand right off the bush.
- Blueberries are ripe when they are plump and colored a deep blue with a dusting of gray. Any glimmer of red means the berry is still tart, not sweet and not ready to be picked.
- Blueberries with a bit of red or purple will ripen at room temperature when they are picked. For this reason, I purposely pick blueberries from the field tinged red or purple so they last a little longer!
- Store ripe blueberries in a covered container in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to 3 days. If kept at room temperature more than a day, blueberries may spoil.
- Blueberries freeze incredibly well. Just don’t wash them first as this removes the waxy “bloom” that protects the berries.
Health benefits of blueberries that you won’t want to miss
- Blueberries have only 84 calories for each one-cup serving and numerous studies have linked them to the loss of stomach fat. So they help with weight loss. Put me in coach!
- Blueberries beat out every other type of berry for the highest antioxidant capacity.
- The anthocyanin present in blueberries is good for eyesight!
- Naturally free of sodium, blueberries also contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium which all help to lower blood pressure.
- The phytonutrients found in blueberries function as powerful antioxidants, protecting cells against damaging free radicals. They may block tumor growth, reduce inflammation and slow some types of cancer.
- Always choose the darkest berries. The deeper the color of blueberry, the richer they are in antioxidants, vitamins and medicinal perks!
- Blueberries are for those who want a healthy heart and strong bones as blueberries give a boost to both.
- Those who consume high-fiber diets that contain blueberries have lower blood glucose levels. So blueberries help manage diabetes!
- The Vitamin C found in blueberries works as an antioxidant boosting collagen, necessary for strong and healthy skin fighting wrinkles and smoothing skin texture.
- Blueberries are fabulous for the brain and can even help reduce the risk of memory loss.
Random blueberry facts that seem too silly to be true!
- Blueberries aren’t actually blue, but deep purple. This is the color of anthocyanin, a pigment that is especially rich in blueberries.
- America’s favorite muffin is the blueberry muffin.
- The blueberry industry of North America ships over 500 metric tons of fresh berries to Japan each year and over 100 metric tons to Iceland.
- To bring out the fullest flavors of a blueberry, bring them to room temperature prior to eating.
- New Jersey claims the blueberry as its official state fruit and Minnesota claims the blueberry muffin as its official state muffin. Because you need a state muffin. What?
- Robert Frost, that American poet loved blueberries so much he decided a poem about them. The poem? It’s called “Blueberries.” Go figure.
- Blueberries have a waxy coating called a “bloom” that acts as a barrier, protecting the skins from insects and bacteria. It seals in the fruit’s moisture and is a sign of freshness!
- July is national blueberry month because that’s the peak harvest season for the blueberry. True!
- The annual harvest of North American blueberries would cover a four lane highway from Chicago to New York if spread out in a single layer.
- Maine is the blueberry production capital of North America and produces almost 100 percent of all berries harvested in the country. (Several sources confirmed this but it shocked me!) But Michigan is a large supplier of cultivated blueberries.
What’s so fabulous about True Vine Ranch?
I could easily give you 50 reasons that you want to buy from Doug and Tonya of True Vine Ranch but I’m going to keep it to ten (and that’s going to be hard.)
- Doug and Tonya (owners of True Vine Ranch) are the nicest people you could ever buy blueberries from hands down. Sincere, knowledgeable, honest, straightforward, and kind. But with 6 kids and a daughter-in-love who all no doubt help on the family farm….what else would you expect? They remind me of this family that goes to my church. Besides, they’ve been planting blueberries since 2007 and started the official business in 2010. Wow!
- My girls and I just watched the Wizard of Oz for the first time and loved it. But with True Vine Ranch, you ARE in Kansas. And it’s a wonderful, down-to-earth place. Don’t you love supporting a USA family business? I do!
- The pricing. For $29 I can’t believe the size of these blueberry bushes. Where else are you going to get this big of a bush for that kind of price? Nowhere. Now we’ve both been to the local nursery and I try to support them when I can. But….why buy puny half-dead bushes that cost $60? For a fraction of the price you can get these mammoth blueberry bushes shipped to your door.
- And when your blueberry bushes are shipped to your door you’ll see how healthy these plants are firsthand! It’s like the Garden of Eden (or it is the Garden of Eatin’) has landed. As a side note, they are real bushes, not those fake, phony photoshopped pics of bushes you’ll see online. Don’t expect perfection.
- True Vine Ranch specializes in blueberry bushes. That’s it. Doug and Tonya have invested the time in learning blueberries from the inside out. They have mastered what makes blueberries tick through lots of trial and error (so we don’t have to). And they had a blueberry mentor to help them along the way! So with your plants you will get special instructions that can’t be found on the Internet. Doing a google search won’t do you any good. It’s not there. And that’s my secret. Finally, something not on the net!
- As if their pricing wasn’t fantastic enough, they have all these deals on their website that are beyond tempting. You can order online or you can just give them a call if that’s your preference.
- I was serious about the knowledge part since I’ve killed my share of fruit bushes (mostly raspberry) but I vowed to do better this round. Tonya answered all my questions thoroughly, and for the first time I feel confident that these bushes are going to survive and thrive. Already our little patch looks marvelous!
- True Vine Ranch blueberries produce up to nickel sized fruit. No pesticides are required and only non GMO varieties are offered. And they have over 20,000 state inspected blueberries that are ready and willing to grow in your yard now! (Road trip anyone?)
- These berries can thrive in heat of over 100 degree F. and are winter hardy to minus 30 degrees F. That’s amazing since I live in Buffalo where it can get super cold!
- The Wiley family are people of faith and the light of Jesus shines from them. I’ve come to learn that work is from God, He gives us work to do with our hands and He uses the gifts He’s already blessed us with to do this work. Our talents, our ambitions, our dreams…He uses all for His glory. It’s obvious that the Wiley family has been called to be in the blueberry business and we hope to support them in any way we can!
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither of you can bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches.
John 15: 1-5