For Immediate Release - July 01, 2011

Agriculture Officials Encourage Massachusetts Residents to Enjoy Locally Grown Blueberries

BOSTON - July 01, 2011 - With summer beginning, locally grown blueberries are back on the market and ready for picking and this year, Massachusetts is home to 67 pick-your-own-blueberry farms and to hundreds of farmers' markets and roadside stands across the Commonwealth.

"Picking blueberries at a local farm is a great activity for the summer, something everyone in the family will enjoy and a great way to support local agriculture," said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Scott Soares.

Farmers report that crops are, for the most part, going to be on time this year. The rain may have delayed the crops slightly, but overall this summer has brought good growing conditions for most farmers, so Massachusetts residents should expect lot of blueberries to be seen this season.

"The blueberry crop looks terrific! The rain may have slowed the season down a bit, but late harvest should be underway the first week of July," said Sonia Schloemann, extension educator for the University of Massachusetts Extension Center for Agriculture.

Blueberries are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, as well as vitamin C and fiber. These berries can be used in many recipes, including pies, muffins, jams, jellies, and smoothies.

For a list of Massachusetts' blueberry farms, farmers' markets, pick-your-own berry farms, and roadside produce stands, visit http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map.htm.

DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of local agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions - Agricultural Development, Animal Health, Crop and Pest Services, and Technical Assistance - DAR strives to support, regulate, and enhance the Commonwealth's agricultural community, working to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture's role in energy conservation and production. For more information, go to www.mass.gov/agr or follow us at twitter.com/MDARCommish for the latest agricultural trends and updates. To keep up to date on workshops and events, visit www.mass.gov/agr/events/coming_up.htm.