Blueberry Farming in the Wiregrass

By: Denise Bradberry Email
By: Denise Bradberry Email

Blueberry farming is poised to become the next multi-million dollar industry in the Wiregrass and there is more to it than just a delicious dessert.

Blueberry pie, muffins and pancakes; what about acres of fresh blueberries? Two-hundred and twenty-five acres to be exact; that's how much land members of the Wiregrass Blueberry Growers Association have full of bushes.

"We have plenty of marginal land in the Wiregrass that can grow blueberries that aren't necessarily so good for crop land," said Wyatt Oates.

The Wiregrass is a prime candidate for blueberry orchards because of the unique window of time they ripen here.

"Florida berries have already grown, matured and harvested and then our berries come on and at that certain time of the year, we're the only ones in the United States and basically the world where blueberries are coming in," adds Oates.

Since blueberry bushes can grow between 10,000 and 16,000 berries per acre, Oates sees the industry continuing to grow itself.

"I foresee a lot more people being into it for the fact that you don't have to own a bunch of land. You can have 2, 3, 4 or 5 acres and still make a considerable amount of money on them," Oates continued.

Blueberries join the concord grape and the cranberry as being one of only three fruits native to North America, and the berries exude patriotic spirit.

"Blueberries start off as a green berry, then turn white, red and then blue, making them a true American fruit," Oates explained.

The members of the Wiregrass Blueberry Growers Association group their berries together to market them. The final goal is to get the little berries into your homes and into your blueberry delight.

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