We all know Washington is home to great apples and lots of them. Last year's crop was 109 million boxes and this year that number could grow to 121 million.
But did you know we're also breaking blueberry production records?
The Capital Press reports that we're looking at a 70 million-pound crop, up from 61 million last year. According to the Washington Blueberry Commission, Washington state has more than tripled its blueberry acres in the last five years, with much of the recent growth happening east of the Cascades.
Our neighbors in Oregon produced 65 million pounds of blueberries in 2011 and this year they're expecting up to 75 million pounds.
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is forecasting almost 286 million pounds along the entire west coast for 2012. 50 blueberries weigh about one ounce; 286 million pounds is 4,576,000,000 ounces, which is 228,800,000,000 blueberries. Yeah, that's definitely a lot of berries! 56 percent of those will go to fresh market and the remainder will be processed.
Blueberries are becoming more and more popular around the world not only because they're really tasty, but also because they're really healthy. They are high in fiber, very low in fat and sodium and, compared to nearly 40 other fruits and vegetables, blueberries rank highest in disease-fighting antioxidants. 3.5 oz.—or around 175—fresh blueberries could deliver the equivalent antioxidant capacity of five servings of other fruits and vegetables.How does a smoothie sound right about now?
To read this story in Spanish, click here.