Homegrown Hillsborough: Blueberries
April's harvest: Blueberries
Hillsborough County farmers grow more than 60 crops. In this monthly feature we discuss a seasonal crop, grown locally and available fresh in area groceries.
Blueberries not only are delicious, they contain more antioxidants than most other fruits and vegetables, and might help prevent cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.
When are fresh local blueberries available at local groceries and farm stands?
April and May, and in some years as early as February and March.
What types of blueberries are grown commercially here?
Southern highbush and rabbiteye.
Where are blueberries most commonly grown in Hillsborough County?
How many acres are planted in blueberries?
591 in 2012 (most recent year for which statistics are available).
How many blueberries are harvested?
About 2.2 million pounds annually in Hillsborough County.
West-Central Florida might hold the most promise for expansion of blueberry farming in Florida. About 35 percent of the state's crop is grown in Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, and Orange counties. Blueberries are a popular commodity at area U-Pick farms.