Winter Fresh Blueberries
Craving the taste of fresh blueberries in winter? You’re in luck! Nowadays, you’ll find fresh blueberries in the market almost every day of the year. So if you want a kick of flavor on a chilly winter morning, toss a few blueberries in your oatmeal or on your pancakes. There’s nothing like a taste of nature’s little blue dynamos® to brighten a cold winter’s day!
Although the domestic harvest ends in October, fresh blueberries are still available in the United States thanks to an abundant supply from South America. Blueberries thrive in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer weather from October through March, then the domestic season begins in Florida.
Chile’s clear blue skies, hot days and cool nights are ideal blueberry growing. The first blueberry bushes were planted in Chile in the 1980s and since then, the number of blueberry acres in the country has skyrocketed. According to the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, in 2003, Chile maintained about 5,200 acres of blueberry crops; by 2010, that number swelled to more than 32,000 acres!
Each year, tons of Chilean blueberries are harvested by hand and machine, packaged in clean, modern packinghouses and flown or shipped to North American ports for distribution throughout the United States. Production areas in Chile stretch from Copiapó in the north to Puerto Montt in the South. The Bio Bio region is Chile’s leading production area.
Chile accounts for the majority of fresh Southern Hemisphere blueberries imported to the United States, followed by Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Brazil.