History of Blueberries


Our favorite boost of blue isn’t new – blueberries, native to North America, have been part of life here for 13,000 years. The first highbush blueberry bush was successfully cultivated for commercial production in the early 1900s, and today, we grow nearly 1 billion pounds of blueberries in North America each year. A delicious legacy!

Our favorite boost of blue isn’t new – blueberries, native to North America, have been part of life here for 13,000 years. The first highbush blueberry bush was successfully cultivated for commercial production in the early 1900s, and today, we grow nearly 1 billion pounds of blueberries in North America each year. A delicious legacy!


The Story Begins

Native Americans were the first to recognize the versatility and health benefits of blueberries, using them for medicinal purposes and as natural flavoring.


Delicious Inspiration

1893

Elizabeth White sees the potential in blueberries as a crop

After years of harvesting cranberries on her family’s farm, she was ready for a boost of blue.

1908

Frederick Coville begins experimenting with wild blueberries

A USDA botanist, he was determined to find the right plants to cultivate.

1911

Elizabeth White and Frederick Coville become partners

After reading Coville’s “Experiments in Blueberries,” White invited him to work together on her family farm.

Credit: Whitesbog

Breakthrough in Blue

1912

White and Coville’s first successful field plantings crop up

Despite what local farmers told a determined White, blueberries could be cultivated!

1916

The team harvests and sells its first commercial crop of highbush blueberries

Kitchens across the nation were about to get a lot more colorful.

1932

New Jersey awards Elizabeth White for her “outstanding contributions to agriculture”

Our earliest industry leader gets her due from the state where it all started.

Credit: Whitesbog
Credit: Whitesbog

The Blueberry Boom

1942-62

200,000+ blueberry seedlings spread across 13 states

In mid-century America, people found their thrill … in the Blueberry Hill cookbook, published in 1959 with a Blueberry Buckle recipe still popular today.

1974

The USDA proclaims July as National Blueberry Month

It’s the peak of the North American blueberry harvest, aka the most delicious month of the year.

1990s

Blueberry production reaches 100 million pounds a year

White and Coville knew they were onto something – and they were right.

Boosts of Blue in the 21st Century

2000-Present

An array of scientific research increasingly ties blueberries to health benefits

We continue to learn more every year, with a recent focus on cardiovascular health, brain health, insulin response and gut health.

2019

Blueberries are certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association®

The Heart-Check Food Certification Program helps shoppers identify heart-healthy foods that can be part of a sensible eating plan.

2020

The blueberry emoji debuts on smartphones around the world

Much like the berry itself, the emoji is small, blue, and should be enjoyed daily.

2021

Ginger ‘n’ Spice Bubbling Blueberry Pie becomes the official pie of the blueberry industry

Blueberry fans across the nation vie for the title in The America’s Best Blueberry Pie Contest, but there can only be one blue-ribbon boost of blue.


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