Fresh Eats Blog: Blueberries

 In Market News

Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: blueberries.

Did you know depending on the variety, blueberries have either deciduous or evergreen leaves?

Did You Know?

Did you know that blueberries are Canada’s number one fruit export?Under the rights conditions, blueberries plants can last approximately 80 years and are in season in South West British Columbia for August and September!

Blueberries contain minerals such as iron, manganese, phosphorus and potassium and now with more varieties than ever, you can plant blueberries to last in a wider range of climates. Make sure you stop by the market to pick some up while they are still in season!

Recipe of the Week

Rainbow Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Courtesy of ChristineM & allrecipes Canada

Ingredients:

3 cups torn lettuce leaves

1 cup chopped cucumber

2 chopped green onions

1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin

1 apple, sliced thin 1 cup

Fresh blueberries (as much as you would like!)

1/2 cup walnuts

Dressing:

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Directions:

Step 1- Chop apples, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce.

Step 2- Prepare the dressing by adding the ingredients into a small bowl. Whisk the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, onion powder, and salt together. Then slowly include the grapeseed oil and poppy seeds. Finally, whisk until combined.

Step 3- Toss the lettuce, cucumber, green onions, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper, and carrot together in a large bowl.

Step 4- Arrange the apple slice atop the vegetable mixture. Scatter the blueberries, walnuts, and feta cheese over the top of the salad.

Step 5- Drizzle your dressing over the salad to serve.

Ingredients at the Market

Blueberries: Beckmann Farms, Floralia Growers, Mandair Farms

Flavoured Vinegar: Red Barn Plants and Produce

Cheese: Golden Ears Cheesecrafters

Bell Pepper: Floralia Growers, Never Say Die

Green Onions: Wah Fung Farm, Never Say Die, Ripple Creek Organic Farm

Carrots: Forstbauer Farms, Shen’s Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm

Cucumber: Shen’s Farm, Langley Organic Growers, Never Say Die

Lettuce: Langley Organic Farms, Ripple Creek Organic, Wah Fung Farm

Other Greens: Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Langley Organic Growers, Mandair Farms, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Wah Fung Farm

Steps on How To Grow

Blueberries Planting 101:

Step 1- Although considered self-pollinating, having more than one plant is beneficial to your yield. Choose between the two different varieties, ie: two different plants will ensure a higher yield.

Step 2- Plant your bushes in well-draining soil, or in a raised bed. Blueberries love the sun but also do not like to be constantly water logged. To ensure your plant does not have too much moisture, add peat moss into your soil.

Note: Depending on your climate, be prepared to water your plants frequently.

Step 3- Adding two to four inches of mulch, once a year, will help regulate moisture and keep weeds at bay. Fertilize with an acid fertilizer when the buds appear in early spring, and then again once the fruit is established.

Step 4- In your first year of growing, cut off the first bloom/blossoms. This will give you a better crop for years to come! From year one onward, prune at the end of every season.

Note: The acidity of a blueberry plants’ surroundings in crucial to its growth. If you feel you are growing in less than ideal conditions or are not seeing results, try growing your plant in a container, or consult your local garden center for any questions.

Blueberries in B.C.

Did you know in B.C. alone 700 farmers harvest upwards of 77 million kilograms of blueberries per year? The province’s Blueberry Council says this number is steadily increasing!

B.C. is one of the largest highbush blueberry suppliers in the world, ranking third internationally. Highbush blueberries alone span over 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) across the province which is approximately 96 per cent of the countries supply of this variety of blueberry!

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