Mother Nature once again blessed British Columbia’s blueberry farmers with another unseasonably warm and sunny winter. With an even earlier start to the season than 2015, the province’s 800 farmers have been in the fields since early June picking the season’s first berries.

“The harvest started about a week earlier than last year, which was at the time the earliest in recent memory,” said Debbie Etsell, executive director of the B.C. Blueberry Council. “This means that the first of the B.C. blueberry crop is already available in supermarkets, farmers’ markets and produce stores across the province. The 2015 season yielded nearly 77 million kilograms, making it the largest ever and 2016 is expected to be on par, allowing consumers to enjoy berries through until late August.”

Along with being available at supermarkets, produce stores and farmers’ markets, B.C. blueberries can also be hand-picked by consumers at the many “u-pick” farms throughout British Columbia. Lists of blueberry farms offering both “u-pick” and farm gate sales are included on the council’swebsite. Thanks to a variety of new partnerships this season, B.C. blueberries will be part of retail promotions across Western Canada withFresh Street Markets, and summer baking promotions with Overwaitea Food Group and Federated Co-op Ltd, along with annual promotions run with Kin’s Farm Markets and Calgary Co-op. This August, the B.C. Blueberry Council is sponsoring a series of three cooking classes at Cook Culture, with each class featuring a blueberry-focused menu. In addition, the B.C. Blueberry Council will be participating in seven farmer’s markets across the Metro Vancouver region this summer.

The best way to enjoy B.C. blueberries is by the handful but for those who are handy in the kitchen, the website has more than 100 recipes with creative and healthy ideas on how to use the berries – from nutritious breakfasts and traditional baking, through to salads, cocktails and ideas for the grill.

About the British Columbia Blueberry Council

The British Columbia Blueberry Council represents over 800 blueberry growers, located in some of Canada’s most rich and fertile farmland. Plantings of premium quality highbush blueberries top 11,300 hectares in British Columbia and produce upwards of 77 million kilograms  (172 million pounds) of blueberries annually. With more than $1 billion in sales in the past five years, Canada is the third largest national producer of sweet and juicy highbush blueberries in the world. Available fresh in B.C. from June through August, BC blueberries are also frozen, dried, juiced, puréed and powdered, available for year round-distribution throughout Canada and around the world.
This release was provided by Fever Pitch

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