We all love to eat organic blueberries. You know the sweet and juicy little flavor bombs are some of the most versatile fruits in our kitchens. That’s great knowledge…and now we’ll take you a little deeper on the True Blue Backstory…
In addition to producing our favorite fruit, blueberry bushes are really attractive deciduous shrubs. Deep green elliptical leaves turn bronze in the fall. The two largest branches of the blueberry (Vaccinium) family are Highbush Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) and Lowbush Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium). Blueberries are self-fertile, but produce more abundant crops with cross pollination.
Here at Root 24 Farms, we grow three varieties of organic Highbush Blueberries (Duke, Draper, Calypso – see below). Highbush blueberries are tall shrubs (you coulda guessed that, right?), reaching as high as 6-8 feet tall and they produce abundant, plump and juicy berries. We love seeing the many colors the berries pass through as they ripen, from green to lilac and finally to blue.
Do you notice the pale coating on your blueberries? That’s called bloom. It’s the berry’s own natural way of protecting its delicate skin insects and bacteria. The bloom helps keep blueberries fresher longer.
Lowbush blueberries are also known as wild blueberries. These hardy shrubs are native to the colder climates of Eastern North America and grow only to about two feet tall and do fine even in poor soils Their fruit is small, sweet, almost black berries.
Even though our Pacific Northwest blueberry harvest season is relatively brief — roughly late June through early August – we depend on three perfect varieties of blueberries to keep the season going as long as we can. Our Dukes are the first to ripen, then come the Drapers, then Calypsos. We’ve chosen these varieties because they are ideally suited to our growing region and our organic farming practices.
The Duke shrubs bloom late, but ripen early, which is why they kick off our season. Duke blueberries are mildly tart, medium to large, firm, and hold their freshness well.
Also known for their tendency to stay fresh and wonderful, Draper blueberries are our mid-season heroes. They are large, firm, powder blue berries with excellent flavor. Their thicker skin gives the fruit a crisp texture.
Our late season champion is the Calypso blueberries are distinctively large, with excellent flavor and firmness and an ideal sugar-to-acid balance.
When our berries hit the supermarket next summer, refer back to this page and see if you can guess which variety you have in your package!