blueberry of the genus Vaccinium, is a native American species. Early settlers
cherished the fruit as a staple ingredient in foods and medicines. They
incorporated the berries into their diets, eating them fresh off the bush
and adding them to soups, stews, and many other foods.
America is the world's leading blueberry producer, accounting for nearly
90% of world production at the present time. The North American harvest
runs from mid-April through early October, with peak harvest in July which
is also known as National Blueberry Month.
The Improved Blueberry
Efforts in the early 1900's
by Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville to domesticate the wild highbush
blueberry resulted in today's cultivated blueberry industry. Their
initial breeding work has resulted in the plump, juicy, sweet and easy to
pick cultivated blueberry we enjoy today.
Over the decades, plant breeders have worked
to identify and enhance the desirable features of various cultivars of highbush
blueberries. For decades cultivated blueberries have been improved
through natural selection and plant breeding programs to produce an optimal
blueberry with desirable flavor, texture and color. Cultivated varieties
have been enhanced to offer magnificent plump berries with deep, rich colour
and a delicious fruity flavor. These plant breeding programs have resulted
in the development of superior berries both for the consumer and the food
Nova Scotia's Wild Blueberry
The wild blueberry is a significant
part of Nova Scotia's heritage and natural vegetation, and has been
the key to a remarkable story of economic growth and development in Nova
Wild blueberries are native to Nova Scotia and throughout the course of history
have always been very popular. Originally found in the wild, and picked
by hand, this fruit is now widely cultivated and many fields are harvested
with machines. Over the past 50 years, with the development of new
agricultural and management methods, and improvements in processing, shipping,
and marketing, a commercial wild blueberry industry has grown from a small
local fresh market to become a significant frozen food export business.
Nova Scotia's wild blueberries are sold in over twenty countries around the
world and the industry makes a substantial contribution to the economy.
The province is one of five regions in Canada where wild blueberries can
be grown and is the largest producer of wild blueberries in the country.
On January 11, 1996, the wild blueberry was declared the Provincial Berry
of Nova Scotia by an Act of the House of Assembly.