Cultivated highbush blueberries (bot. Vaccinium corymbosum) produce an abundance of large, sweet fruits. The fruit’s sweet and fresh flavor is one that anyone can appreciate. It is eaten fresh, and is also processed to make juices, jams, yogurt, baking goods, and the list goes on. The health benefits are another reason for its success. Its growing appeal in Asia stems from the berries’ high content of anti-oxidants, compounds that have been identified as playing a major part in improving eyesight, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing cancer.

The berry is deemed to be developed when the size is around 0.75 inch in diameter, and the color is dark blue, almost black. Unlike what many believe, turning blue is a sign of ripeness. Most blueberries turn blue one to two weeks before they are ready to be harvested. The fruit usually blossoms in Spring with a harvesting season averaging 8 to 12 weeks. Depending on the geography, type, and variety, berries will ripen at different times. For instance, blueberries first start ripening in New Jersey in the latter part of June. The season then spreads westward, reaching British Columbia, Oregon and Washington in July.

To learn more on cultivated highbush blueberries, visit these helpful links:

British Columbia Blueberry Council
North American Blueberry Council
The Northwest Berry & Grape Information Net