Despite Rain Delay, Berry Season Bursts into the Bay State
Massachusetts residents encouraged to indulge in delicious, locally grown berries
"Berry season is in full swing in Massachusetts and a quintessential part of the local culinary experience during the summer months," said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares.
While wet weather has delayed the berry crop across Massachusetts, most farmers are now reporting strong yields. Blueberry and raspberry season usually starts in early July. The blueberry crop usually runs through the beginning of September and raspberries are around through the end September. This year farmers throughout the state have seen delays from a few days to a few weeks due to the rainy weather conditions, but many farmers are praising the rain because wet weather has saved them irrigation costs.
"We have saved money due to the rain, and have not had to irrigate at all this year," said Casey Vandervalk of Vandervalk Tree Farm in Mendon.
Blueberries are one of three commercially grown fruit species native to the United States and are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, as well as vitamin C and fiber. They can be stored, unwashed, in the refrigerator for up to one week before eating or using in recipes ranging from jams and jellies to muffins and smoothies. Massachusetts is number two in the US for wild blueberry production and ranks 17 th for high bush (cultivated) blueberries. The state ranks tenth nationwide in production of raspberries.
Purchasing Massachusetts-grown berries is an ideal way to celebrate summer and support your local farmer at the same time.
For a list of Massachusetts blueberry and raspberry farms, pick-your-own berry farms, and farmers' markets and roadside produce stands, visit www.mass.gov/massgrown.
Facts on Massachusetts berries:
- 40 percent of berry growers market their berries directly to consumers through roadside farm stands, farmers' markets and pick-your-own operations;
- There are 915 blueberry, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry farms in Massachusetts;
- Massachusetts produces 4.6 million pounds of berries per year.