Blueberry History
 
          The 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.  North 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 processing industry. 

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 Scotia.

     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.


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