North Carolina’s State Blue Berry

Written By Sara Riggins

North Carolina is sixth in the nation in the production of blueberries. The fruit is the state’s “blue berry” because of campaigns by elementary students to choose a “state berry.” In 2001 the General Assembly legislature compromised and named a blue (blueberry) and a red berry (the strawberry). According to the N.C. State University Extension Service, North Carolina produces about 40 million tons per year (up from 28.5 million pounds in 2008), worth about $70 million.

Annual blueberry harvests occur mainly during June and July.  Although blueberries are native to North American soil, they were not planted in North Carolina until 1936. Blueberries are sweet in taste and rich in fiber and Vitamin C.  The fruit also has the highest antioxidant level of any fruit.  In recent years, the blueberry has been called a “superfruit” because of its many health benefits.