When the subject of blueberries arises, Maine and Michigan typically become part of the conversation. Few folks realize Florida's history growing blueberries began in the late 1800's. This sweet, tasty crop is likely one of the state's best kept, and most delicious secrets. To help celebrate Florida's blueberry season, Mount Dora will have it's inaugural Blueberry Festival on April 18 in Sunset Park downtown.
Although the berries have a lengthy history here, it wasn't until the 1970's that the current hybrid cultivar, the Southern Highbush blueberry, was introduced. By the mid 1980's mass plantings took root in north central and northwestern Florida and the industry has grown ten fold.
Although Michigan leads with the largest crop, hundreds of small blueberry farms have popped up in Florida over the last 30 years. Florida produces four to five pounds of berries per bush, compared to the northern plants that can yield up to twenty pounds per plant. Fortunately, Florida's blueberry season differs from Michigan's, which makes local blueberry farming a viable business. Florida's season can run from December through April, but the U-Pick season is typically only in April.
Here's a list of the nearby farms where you can pick fresh blueberries:
- Blue Bayou Farms, Yalaha, www.bluebayoufarms.com
- Green Acres Fernery, Blueberry & Peach Farm, Yalaha
- Lake Catherine Blueberries, Groveland
- Mark's U-Pick Blueberries, Clermont
Get more information on the Mount Dora Blueberry Festival at www.MountDoraBuzz.com/Calendar
For more local news and events always available at www.MountDoraBuzz.com