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Blueberries Are a Big Deal In Canada – And Chatham-Kent

on August 27 | in Kim Cooper | by | with Comments Off on Blueberries Are a Big Deal In Canada – And Chatham-Kent

You may recall a famous saying from Paul Revere, which goes “The blueberries are coming! The raspberries are coming!”

I may have that quote a bit wrong, but they, meaning the blueberries and raspberries, are in fact ready and waiting for you. Chatham-Kent blueberries and raspberries. Delicious and nutritious.

Early colonists from Europe learned from First Nations people how to gather blueberries, dry them under the summer’s sun, and store them for the winter. In time, blueberries became an important food source and were preserved, and later canned. A beverage made with blueberries was an important staple for Civil War soldiers.

Raspberries have been used as a food source and medicinal plant for at least 10,000 years. Raspberries were actually cultivated by the Romans in the 4th century.

In the 16th century raspberries began to show up in home gardens in Europe as the wild berry plants were brought in from woodlands. The use of the raspberry as a medicine continued to be common at this time. The 19th century saw 20 or more cultivars for red raspberries in England and the U.S. The first U.S. raspberries were brought from Europe in 1771 and sold in New York. After the American Civil War, commercial raspberry production began to increase.

Canada ranks second in world blueberry production and seventh in world raspberry production. Canadian exports of blueberries are over $300 million and are the largest fruit crop produced nationally, occupying more than half of all Canadian fruit acreage. Only three per cent of raspberries are sold fresh – 97 per cent are processed into jams, jellies, drinks, canned, frozen, retail, wholesale packs, and bakery products.

Blueberries and raspberries top the list of some 40 fruits, juices, and vegetables in their antioxidant activity.  Antioxidants have anti-aging effects because they are scavengers of free radicals, which are atoms that can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.

Just 3.5 ounces of blueberries, enough to cover a bowl of cereal in the morning, has the antioxidant capacity of 1,773 International Units of vitamin E. Most people have heard about the antioxidant power of substances such as vitamins C, E, and beta carotene. But fruits and vegetables, including raspberries and blueberries, are like super vitamins filled with dozens of other disease-preventing substances.

Raspberries are a rich source of vitamin C, with 30 mg per serving of 1 cup (about 50 per cent daily value), manganese (about 60 per cent daily value) and dietary fiber (30 per cent daily value). Contents of B vitamins 1-3, folic acid, magnesium, copper, and iron are considerable in raspberries.

Blueberries and raspberries are low in calories, virtually fat free, and a good source of fiber.

So enjoy fresh blueberries, raspberries, and other berries grown right here in Chatham-Kent. You can purchase and/or pick your own delicious and nutritious berries, all the way from Bothwell to Cedar Springs and many points in between. Make it an experience for your entire household; something they will never forget. By doing this and other amazing things this summer, you will find out more about Chatham-Kent’s leading economic driver – Agriculture!

The harvest is here, so make sure you purchase and enjoy Chatham-Kent grown berries.

Think about this – God is always more interested in your attitude than your achievements.

Just some food for thought.

Remember to check out our community’s agricultural website at wegrowfortheworld.com

Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 45 years. He can be reached at kim.e.cooper@gmail.com 

You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’

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