As you might be aware by now, July is National Blueberry month. We made this blueberry dessert for our "Meal Prep Monday" post in honor of the little blue berry. For decades the North American Blueberry Council worked with the US Department of Agriculture to achieve a proclamation for the month of July as “National Blueberry Month.”
It was in July 2003 the United States Department of Agriculture proclaimed that July is National Blueberry Month in the USA!
Blueberries are native to North America and grow in 35 states. The pioneering work to domesticate blueberries was done by Elizabeth White and Dr. Frederick Coville. In 1893 Elizabeth White, daughter of a New Jersey cranberry grower, saw potential in domesticating blueberries and adding them to the family's crops. At this point others were telling her it was impossible to domesticate blueberries.
In 1908, Frederick Coville, a USDA botanist, started seeking superior wild blueberries to attempt to cultivate a domestic blueberry with ideal characteristics. It took two years before discovering blueberries could only thrive in acidic soil. In 1911, Elizabeth White read Dr. Coville's "Experiments in Blueberries" and invited him to the family farm to use their land and partner with each other in blueberry cultivation experiments.
It only took one year (1912) for their first domesticated blueberry bush to crop up. In 1916 the duo harvested and sold their first commercial crop of highbush blueberries. It took only one more year (1917) for packaging for Whitesbog Blueberries to be created and "blueberry fever" swept the region.
We've only had domestic blueberries for just over a century, thanks to a determined woman and a botanist who clearly saw their worth. Both were pioneers of agriculture and the reason we have easy access to this superfood.