While June is officially blueberry month in Missouri, the 2012 harvest of this “All-American” fruit was early this year according to Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
“The blueberry industry is relatively young in Missouri,” said Byers. “The first blueberries in southwest Missouri were planted in the 1970s.”
Missouri producers typically grow highbush blueberries, a bush type of blueberry that reaches five to six feet in height. Each bush can produce up to 15 pounds of fruit. The fruit typically ripens in June and early July.
Blueberries are delicious, the ultimate snack berry and a nutritious part of the diet. The fruit is very high in antioxidant content (many dark berries are), and these antioxidants assist the body in combating such ailments as diabetes, high cholesterol, Alzheimers disease, glaucoma, cataracts and certain cancers.
“Blueberries help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and can help combat the effects of aging,” said Byers.
Several area farms offer blueberries, either on a pick your own basis or already harvested. Call ahead for details on picking conditions, and don’t wait too long to gather your “harvest of health.”
For more information on magnolias, call University of Missouri Extension in Greene County at 417-881-8909 or visit them online at http://extension.missouri.edu/greene.