Want to retain your memory? Try a blueberry. Lower your risk factors for some cancers? Make blueberries part of your diet. How about a great natural source of antioxidants for optimum health? That's right, blueberries.
There's been a lot in the news lately about the health benefits of blueberries. They are nature's number one source of antioxidants among fresh fruits and vegetables, according to the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. Antioxidants are phytochemicals that help neutralize harmful byproducts of metabolism called free radicals that are believed to be the threat that initiates disease problems. The antioxidants are believed to be important in preventing cancer, stroke, heart disease, and loss of memory resulting from Alzheimer's disease.
Chemically active pigments found in blueberries can improve failing eyesight and can prevent macular disintegration resulting from aging, as well as fighting urinary tract infections, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
The North American Blueberry Council says that blueberry juice has higher concentrations of antioxidants than any of the 40 juices tested. Other health benefits from blueberries are vitamins A, B1, B2, C, Niacin, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
All that in just one deliciously sweet blue morsel. So enjoy. Here's to your health!
Established blueberries are trouble-free and last a lifetime with very simple care, producing several gallons of tasty fruit each year. A wide variety of appearances, shapes and sizes are available, ranging from prostrate ground-covers to dense hedges 6 to 8 feet in height. Large containers are good permanent environments for growers with limited space. These require somewhat more maintenance than in-ground plantings but have a number of advantages for folks with limited space.
Our blueberry offerings:
Northern Highbush Zones 4-7
· Duke is an understandably popular variety. It blooms late, but ripens early which protects the blossoms from spring frosts, guaranteeing that it will produce heavily. Its light blue, medium-sized, mildly sweet fruit is ideal for eating fresh. Matures 4-6 feet.
· Patriot is excellent in the landscape with its display of showy white blooms in spring, and brilliant orange-red fall color. All this, coupled with large tasty fruit, and exceptional cold hardiness make it an ideal addition to the home garden or landscape. Matures 3-5 feet.
· Bluegold bears sweet, sky blue berries in large clusters. This in addition to its bright-white blooms, yellow fall foliage, and golden yellow winter wood make this a four season standout. Matures 4-5 feet.
· Bluehavenis a mid-season variety with light blue berries. A good partner for Patriot, it displays wonderful fall color. Matures 4feet.
· Bluejay produces long loose clusters of light blue fruit that hang on the bush for long periods without affecting tueir quality. An excellent choice for freezing, pies, or canning. Good landscape characteristics include light green leaves that turn orange-yellow in fall and bright yellow winter stems. Matures 6-7 feet.
· Bluecrop is perhaps the most widely planted variety in the U.S. A true garden performer, it consistently produces quantities of large, firm, sweet fruit. Matures 4-6 feet.
· Blueray is an old favorite, tolerating hot summers and very cold winters. It bears beautiful rosy pink flowers that turn bright white followed by a long fruiting season of large bright blue berries of delicious desert quality. Foliage is bright red and yellow in fall. Matures 4-6 feet.
· Chandler produces the world’s largest blueberry. The long ripening season provides fresh fruit for up to six weeks. Foliage is wine and orange in fall. Matures 5-7 feet.
· Elliott offers tangy, small to medium, sky blue berries followed by deep red fall foliage and bright burgundy-colored wood. Matures 5-7 feet.
· Friendship produces medium-sized fruit with a sweet somewhat wild taste. Provides brilliant orange-red fall foliage on a compact shrub. Matures 2-3 feet.
· Jersey is one of the oldest and most widely grown blueberry. It reliably produces heavy crops of sweet, small-medium berries year after year. A favorite for baking. Matures 6-8 feet.
· Lowbush is a native plant that, as the name implies, is shorter than its Highbush cousins, spreading by means of underground stems. Prolific white blooms yield small, light blue berries. Zone: 3-7.
· Top Hat is a self-fertile blueberry that bears plentiful white blooms followed by light blue, pea-sized berries. Perfect for border plantings and containers alike. Zone: 3-7.
· Well’s Delight is a versatile, evergreen groundcover that will tolerate heavy shade. Although its fruits resemble other blueberries they are just for the birds. Zone: 6-8.
Half-Highbush Blueberries Zones 3-7
Most half-highbush blueberries are partially self-pollinating. Paring with an additional variety will increase yield.
Polaris, a variety developed in Minnesota, is recommended where a cold-hardy, early ripening blueberry is desired. The berries are aromatic and very sweet. Matures 3-4 feet.
Chippewa, also developed in Minnesota, bears larger fruit than Polaris. the berries are sky blue and the largest of all Half-Highbush varieties. Matures 3-4 feet.
Northsky is the most cold-hardy of all blueberries and can survive extreme winter conditions. It grows to a height of 1 to 1.5 feet, 3 to 4 feet wide, and begins spring completely covered in snow-white blooms.