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NC blueberry crop looks good despite late freeze

Posted May 29, 2014

Photo from American Feast's Sustainable Food Blog, http://blog.americanfeast.com/.

— There’s no reason for North Carolina blueberry growers to be blue this year – officials say the state’s blueberry crop is shaping up to be one of the best in years.

“The late freeze delayed budding by about two weeks, so this is the first real week of harvest for most growers,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a statement. “Fortunately, the cold snap did not damage the crop, and fresh North Carolina blueberries should be available into July.”

North Carolina is the seventh-largest producer of blueberries in the nation. About three-fourths of the state’s blueberries are sold fresh at pick-your-own farms, farmers markets or retail stores. Troxler attributed part of the state’s success to cultivation research at the Horticultural Crops Research Station in Castle Hayne.

At the facility, researchers test blueberry plants from across the nation. Bill Cline, a plant pathologist at the 50-acre test plot, said now is the golden age of blueberry development.

“Several improved cultivars developed for the south have performed really well under North Carolina conditions, and these bushes are reaching the age where they represent a majority of the berries harvested,” Cline said.


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