Star South expert
South Africa: Western Cape, Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga provinces.
UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East
The Blueberry Story
Blueberries are perennial flowering plants with blue or purple berries. They are classified in the section Cyanococcus within the genus Vaccinium. Vaccinium also includes cranberries, bilberries, huckleberries and Madeira blueberries.
Blueberries are native to Asia, Scandinavia and North America, with early native Americans already recognising the health and medicinal value of these berries. Production became commercialised thanks to Elizabeth White, daughter of a New Jersey cranberry grower, and Frederick Coville, a botanist from the United States department of Agriculture.
The two managed to breed the first domestic varieties in 1911 and produced their first harvest from domesticated varieties in 1916. Elizabeth is also credited as the first person to realise that blueberries needed to be planted in acid soil.
Star South procures all of its Blueberries from one national supplier and is distributed nationally to independent retailers and wholesalers as well as export to Kenya and Uganda. We have embraced this wonderful product and in the end would like to see a punnet of blueberries in every household at an affordable price.
Blueberries have been labelled as an anti-oxidant superfood that is said to lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and act as an anti-inflammatory. The berries can be enjoyed raw or processed into confectionary products, juice and dairy products. Even the leaves are said to have medicinal value.
Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists.
PRODUCE AND VARIETALS
A range of varieties are planted, with cultivar selection determining to a large extent the ripening period and in turn the ability to reach a target market frame, for example, when European supplies are low between September and November. The main cultivars planted are rabbiteye cultivars, Northern Highbush and Southern Highbush.