U.S.: Blueberries growing as Georgia’s premiere cash crop
April 22, 2013

While Georgia is known for peanuts, pecans, and peaches, a new crop is surging in popularity in the State. According to the latest Georgia Agricultural Commodities rankings, blueberries are the 12th biggest cash producer in the state.

They're ranked ahead of peaches, watermelons, and onions, drawing in just under $255 million.

"I don't think you can find a better fruit than blueberries, they're good for your eyes, your entire health, your heart and everything," said blueberry farmer Ted Wach.

Wach and his wife Janie can't say enough good things about Georgia's blue fruit. The retired couple has been growing berries in Bolingbroke for 13 years. Every July, they open up their farm so people can come pick their produce, for a small price.

"We enjoy meeting people that come, people come from everywhere," Wach said.

With all the rain Middle Georgia has been getting Wach says it's shaping up to be a great season for blueberry production, all you have to do is check out the big beautiful blossoms, which he says will turn into big juicy berries.

"The blossom falls then the berry starts coming in,” Wach said. “They're big, you'd be surprised how big they are, and they're not foreign made, they're here."

But you probably won't find Georgia blueberries in Georgia supermarkets, at least not this time of year. Doug Sanneman, who serves as Executive Chef for local food restaurant "Dovetail" says it's because most local growers just don't produce enough berries.

"The grocery stores are looking to keep up with volume, more than quality," Sanneman said.

But what Wach lacks on his two acres in Bolingbroke, he makes up with quality and price. He sells his blueberries for $10 a gallon, that's $15 to $50 less than you can buy in a supermarket depending on the season, and Sanneman says there's no comparison in quality from imported to locally grown food.

"If you've ever ate a local tomato, you'll know the difference, you wouldn't be asking that question," Sanneman said.

But while Wach's berries are just itty bitty buds right now, in a few months they will be ripe and ready to eat, a hearty healthy food.

"The most important thing is they are so good for you, they really are," Wach said.