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News Story
Updated: 03/22/2013 08:00:02AM

Blueberries are ripening now

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

DeSoto County has several blueberry farms. Blueberries thrive in acid soil high in organic matter. Commercial plantings are on beds of pine bark 4 to 6 inches deep, with drip lines to deliver water and nutrients. Only low chill varieties will do well in our area.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

The early March cold spell may have delayed ripening of blueberries — but they’ll be sweeter when they do ripen due to the longer time on the bush. Harvesting will be in full swing by early April.

By Karen Smoke

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The Florida blueberry harvest this season is predicted to be a record, about 25 million pounds. Ripening may be a bit delayed due to the early March cold spell, but the extended time on the bush will make the fruit sweeter. Florida is relatively new to blueberry-growing, and DeSoto County has several blueberry farms. Picking will be in full swing by early April. Toward the end of the season, some farms open up for U-pick.

The blueberry is one of the few fruit crops native to North America. Wild blueberries are managed and harvested in Maine and Canada. Florida does have a native blueberry, but the fruit is small and yields are low. Most cultivated blueberries require more cold weather than Florida receives.

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