Until recently, most blueberries grown in the state were grown in Western Washington where the acidic soils match the blueberries native habitat. But 40% of Washington’s blueberries are now grown in Eastern Washington where the dry climate minimizes pest problems. In all, there are about 18,000 acres of blueberries in Washington. Of that, about 5,000 acres are in Eastern Washington.

Did you know?

The United States produces more blueberries than any country in the world, and  Washington is the largest blueberry producing state in the nation.  In 2016 Washington’s total harvest came in at 120 million pounds and projections show it may reach 145 in 2018.

About half of Washington’s blueberries are sold fresh, and the rest are processed.

Each blueberry bush can produce up to 500 blueberries. Only ripe berries are picked, so the same bushes may be picked four times during the season. All berries are hand-picked! Washington growers have a 5-month picking window, unlike anywhere else in the country.  Eastern Washington is early while Northwest Washington is late in the season that ranges from June through October.

Buying blueberries

Fresh blueberries are most plentiful during the summer months, but you will find them in the market all year round, along with frozen, canned and dried blueberries.

When purchasing fresh blueberries, look for firm, plump, dry berries with smooth skins and a silvery sheen. Size doesn't matter, but color does—reddish berries aren't ripe, but can be used in cooking. 

Avoid soft or shriveled fruit, or any signs of mold. Containers with juice stains indicate that the fruit may be bruised.

Health benefits of blueberries

One cup of blueberries has a mere 85 calories but packs a nutritional punch!  

That cup of blueberries has only .5 grams of fat, boasts 3.6 grams of fiber, and 25% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C!  Blueberries have also grown in popularity due to their relatively high content of antioxidants. 

Storing blueberries

Refrigerate fresh blueberries as soon as you get them home, in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or storage container. Wash berries just before use. Use within 10 days of purchase.

Freezing blueberries

Find a local blueberry farm!

Check out the Washington Blueberries website where you can find local farms that allow “U-Pick” – where you can pick your own blueberries!  They don’t get any fresher than that!  Blueberries are generally available for picking from late June through September.  Visit their webpage at http://www.superblues.net/index.html.