The Beginning of Blueberries
Not many people know this, but our favourite fruit actually goes by many names. What most people call the blueberry, some call whortleberry, bilberry, hurtleberry, saskatoons or huckleberry.
We’ve loved these little superfruits for over 15 000 years. Back when we used to hunt and gather foods daily, blueberries were a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients. Even when the Greeks and the Romans were kings of the world, relatives of the blueberry were a part of everyday diets. But this is when people picked wild blueberries directly from the forests, and it wasn’t until 1916 that blueberries began their journey from forest to table.
Thanks to the leadership of two agricultural pioneers, people worldwide have the blueberries they know and love today and an industry was born.
It started over 100 years ago when a young Elizabeth White first domesticated the wild fruit. The daughter of a cranberry farmer, Elizabeth often joined her father on his trips into the fields. After spending years on their Whitesbog farm, learning all there is to know about growing and selling fruit, she unearthed her own special talent of agricultural research.
After years of research, Elizabeth ended up contacting one of America’s most prolific botanists, Frederick Coville, in the hopes of growing and farming domestic blueberries for the first time. She persuaded her father to offer some of the family farm fields as test fields for Frederick to use for research. Coville eventually ended up moving to work with her at the farm. Together, they embarked on the tedious process of growing wild bushes for the first time and singling out the plants that grew the biggest and juiciest blueberries.
After years of hard work and dedication, in 1916, the first Whitesbog commercial blueberries (a mix of varieties) were packed in their wooden boxes and sold to the public.
What has become a multimillion-dollar industry, all started thanks to the hard work and dedication of a young farmer and a botanist.
She is our very own Berry Queen Elizabeth.