It’s going to be a blue weekend here in North Carolina. Not a gloomy blue, though! Nope, it’s going to be a bright, sweet, stain-your-hands-and-teeth kinda blue….a blueberry blue! The 10th Annual Blueberry Festival is tomorrow, June 15th, and the town of Burgaw, which normally has a population of around 4,000 will swell to about 30,000 over the weekend. People from all over travel to the festival to enjoy the entertainment, shop the local vendors and of course get their hands on some delicious blueberries. And it couldn’t be a better day for blue since Saturday is Mandy’s birthday and her favorite color is blue!
The blueberry is North Carolina’s official state blue berry (the strawberry is our official red berry), so it’s only fitting that one of the largest festivals in the south celebrating the fruit is held here. Blueberries are North Carolina’s highest rated fruit crop and the state is the 6th largest producer in the country. Pender County, where the town of Burgaw is located, is where cultivation of sweet blueberries first began back in the 1930s, giving North Carolina one of it’s most profitable crops.
Not only do the berries contribute to the state economically, but they’re also very beneficial to the state’s residents. There’s a reason why blueberries are often referred to as a super-fruit; they’re higher than any other fruit in antioxidants & just one cup provides 14% of the daily recommended dose of fiber and almost a quarter of our daily Vitamin C. To top it off , they’re low in calories and taste delicious! North Carolina’s premier magazine, Our State, recently put together a collection of some of the best loved blueberry recipes from cooks all over the state. You can download a PDF version of the cookbook here. We love blueberries around my house, so I know the cookbook will come in handy for us!
Here’s a fun fact: Have you ever wondered who decides which flavors go into candies like Skittles or Jelly Beans? Well, the next time you snack on a blue Jelly Bean, remember that you have former President Ronald Reagan to thank! He loved them so much that he insisted on having blue jelly beans at his inauguration, prompting the company to introduce the yummy blueberry flavor.
Blueberries…..popular everywhere from my little white house all the way to the big White House!