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The Beloved Blueberry: Five Facts

Blueberries on a branch
Easy to grow throughout North Carolina, blueberries are a favorite summertime treat. Photo by Marc Hall

Blueberries are in peak season in North Carolina. They’re flavorful – both sweet and tart – and they deliver health and economic benefits. Find out more about these summertime treats and a few things NC State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is doing to make them even better.

  • Blueberries are in season in North Carolina from mid-May through July. Though this year’s weather hasn’t been the best for the state’s blueberry crop, you can still find them at farmers markets, roadside stands and grocery stores. Interested in picking your own? Use the Visit NC Farms app to find farms where you can do just that.
  • With blueberries, you can’t get more local. They’re native to North America – and to our state. The North Carolina Blueberry Council dates commercial production in this state to 1930s, but long before that, Native Americans were using blueberries for food and as medicine.
  • Blueberries not only taste great, they’re good for you. Blueberries are low in calories and high in vitamin C and manganese, as well as polyphenols. Polyphenols are rich with antioxidants and thought to help with a range of illnesses, from diabetes to neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

    At NC State’s Plants for Human Health Institute in Kannapolis, researcher Mary Ann Lila studies how these and other berries benefit the body – and how we can make even better use of their medicinal properties. Check out this video to find out more.
  • Blueberries bring in over $55 million to North Carolina farmers, making the state among the nation’s top 10 in blueberry production.

    To help farmers grow the industry in environmentally and economically sustainable ways, NC State provides extension education and research to protect blueberries from pests and bad weather, raise crop yields and reduce growing costs. Scientists also combine traditional and cutting-edge techniques to breed blueberries that are better for farmers and for you.