Summer is in full bloom, and your fruity favorites are ripe and ready to be picked. Especially the most widely popular summer fruit in the US–the blueberry.
35 years ago, the United States Department of Agriculture decided that July would officially become National Blueberry Month. The blueberry has a pretty juicy story of how it came to be. Wild blueberries have been around forever, but the blueberries we see in our local supermarkets weren’t cultivated until around 1910. Wild blueberries are not easy to grow and are pretty unpredictable in size and taste, which is why a woman named Elizabeth White wanted to figure out how to change that and make these factors more linear.
The discovery and its founder
Elizabeth White, the daughter of cranberry farmers in New Jersey, wanted to expand their business with other crops—particularly the blueberry. Blueberries are usually harvested in July, which falls two months before the cranberry harvest. While she was a college student at Drexel University in Philadelphia, her main interest was in figuring out how to grow the best blueberries.
With the help of some friends, White was able to create different strains of the blueberry that could be grown easily, be plentiful, and be the right size every time. Today, the blueberries we know and love at the supermarket are available to grow in 35 different states.
July was chosen as a time to recognize this delicious berry because it is the prime month to harvest the fruit!