Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

July 25, 2008

Commissioner Recognizes Blueberry Season in NYS

Health Benefits and Bountiful Harvest Give Good Reason to Celebrate

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today recognized the peak of blueberry season in New York State and encouraged all New Yorkers to visit their local blueberry patch. Blueberries represent an important sector of the State’s agricultural industry that are gaining popularity due to their powerful disease fighting abilities.

"Not only are they a delicious summer treat, but New York blueberries are powerhouses of antioxidants and other disease fighting compounds," the Commissioner said. "Visiting the local blueberry patch has always been a highlight of the summer for me, and it is no secret that blueberries are actually my favorite fruit. With the season well underway and expected to last through the first weeks of August, I encourage all New Yorkers to make a fun family outing to their local blueberry patch to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather and the benefits of this delicious fruit."

The increasing popularity of blueberries can largely be attributed to the variety of health benefits they offer. Blueberries rank number one in antioxidant activity when compared to 40 other fruits and vegetables. These important compounds advance heart health, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and boost total body wellness. Most recently, researchers have linked eating blueberries with a reduction in the buildup of so-called "bad" cholesterol that contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke, an easing of eye fatigue and a slowing of age-related loss in mental capacity. People who ate a cup of blueberries a day performed 5 to 6 percent better on motor skills tests than a control group. For dieters, blueberries are especially appealing, as a cup of blueberries only contains 83 calories and is a good source of dietary fiber.

Blueberry season is one of the longest lasting of all berry seasons in the State, and is now in full swing. The season typically begins around the second week of July and lasts through the middle of August. A good combination of rain, warmth, and sun has resulted in this year’s bountiful harvest with berries that are large in size and have an abundance of flavor.

New York State currently ranks ninth in the nation for blueberry production, producing 2.5 million pounds in 2007 with a monetary value of over $3.3 million. The estimated value of the State’s blueberry production in 2007 was up 21 percent from $2.7 million in 2006 and 72 percent over the estimated $1.9 million value in 2005.

2008 Press Releases