NC Commissioner Steve Troxler: Blueberry Season and Keeping it Local

Activity remains steady at farmers markets across the state as blueberry season gets underway.

  • Activity at the state operated farmers markets has remained steady as we continue to navigate this COVID-19 pandemic. I am pleased to hear that visitors to our markets and others across the state are doing a pretty good job of social distancing at the markets.
  • The markets are going to continue to get busier as more items come into season, so we need everyone to keep up the good work with washing their hands, waiting 6 feet away from another person and wearing a mask.
  • I’ve been told that is being referred to as the “three W’s.” We need visitors to remember those “three W’s” when they are out and about.
  • Blueberries are the next one up and the crop looks good, particularly for mid- to late-season berries. The season is expected to run through July, so be sure to look for North Carolina blueberries in your grocery store, farmers markets and roadside stands.
  • We are the seventh largest producer of blueberries in the nation and have one of the top blueberry breeding programs in the nation at the Horticultural Crops Research Station in Castle Hayne.
  • That station opened in 1947 and it is perfectly situated for blueberry and muscadine grape research, which is what they are known for.
  • Strawberry and blueberry seasons typically overlap a bit. Strawberries continue to be harvested and I can tell you I have had some delicious strawberries this season already. I expect I will be having a few more.
  • Farms are taking precautions to protect the public. I know some farms are spreading people out, alternating rows for pick-your-own shoppers, while others are offering pick-up service only.
  • I know our farmers appreciate your continued support, so be sure to shop local when you can.
  • With all the talk about COVID-19, I use every chance I get to say this is not a food-borne illness and that people should feel confident in the food supply.
  • Stay safe, shop local and we are going to get through this.