Australia: Bumper harvest of freshest and most delicious blueberries
August 26, 2019

BERRY lovers are set to sing the blues this season (in a good way) as a bumper blueberry harvest rolls onto shelves.

Ideal growing conditions in key regions this year have led to an abundance of fresh blueberries landing in stores this month.

A severe frost wiped out many of the 2018 season's crops but Berries Australia has reported this year is set to be one of the best growing seasons on record.

The crop is expected to reach about 4.8 million punnets of blueberries, weighing more than 600 tonnes.

Berries Australia executive director, Rachel Mackenzie, said excellent weather conditions in Australian growing regions had nudged up the crop.

"Warm, dry sunny days and cool nights for our growers mean that the consumer will be spoilt for choice in relation to finding great value blueberries over the next few weeks," Ms Mackenzie said.

"This year's crop conditions have been more than ideal in growing the freshest and highest quality blueberries just in time for the warmer weather to hit."

"We are very lucky here in Australia to have an excellent climate to grow all types of berries.

"When the weather is kind to us like it has been this growing season, it is the perfect time of year for Australian blueberries to flourish to their full potential.

"This really makes for the freshest and most delicious blueberries for shoppers."

Apart from being high in antioxidants, recent studies suggest one serving of fresh blueberries every day may help contribute to normal blood pressure levels and help improve memory recall in children.

Dietician and nutritionist, Rebecca Gawthorne, @nourished_naturally, said one cup of fresh blueberries contains 25 per cent of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of vitamin C.

"Vitamin C is needed by our bodies for the for the formation of connective tissues including our bones, blood vessels and skin and it also helps the absorption of non-haem iron from our foods," Ms Gawthorne said.

"One cup of blueberries contains 35pc of the RDI of Vitamin K; a fat soluble vitamin needed for the healthy clotting of our blood.

"Together with other nutrients found in blueberries including iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc, vitamin K also works to keep our bones healthy.

"There has also been some exciting new health research into the benefits of blueberries, which has found blueberries contain powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins that help to counter the build-up of arterial plaque in our arteries, improve cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health."