The blueberry (various species of Vaccinium with bluish fruits, especially the highbush blueberry, V. corymbosum) was until fairly recently only known in its native North America, but its popularity has been growing all over the world. Poland is now the world’s third-largest producer of blueberries, after the United States and Canada, producing 12,731 tonnes.
The tiny delicious berries are so popular in Poland that the country has declared a Polish Blueberry Day (Polski dzie? borówki): July 1st, which corresponds to the beginning of the blueberry harvesting season.
Polish Blueberry Day brings together consumers and growers. Presentations and tastings featuring the qualities of blueberries, fresh fruit and blueberry preserves are held annually in over 600 locations across the country.
Blueberries have been called a “superfood,” packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, and high in potassium and vitamin C, making them a top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory … and delicious!
Most of Poland’s blueberry production (as much as 80 percent) is actually exported. Its blueberries are sold to 25 countries on four continents. “The fruit goes to the most demanding markets,” says Dominika Kozarzewska of the Polish Blueberry Promotion Foundation. The United Kingdom is currently the largest importer of Polish blueberries.
Polish blueberries have always had a good reputation for general quality but more especially for their good taste, which is due to the generally good climate and soils within Poland. The combination of cold winters and hot summers is perfect for bringing out the right sugar/acid balance that gives the Polish fruit its unique flavor characteristics.
The next time you buy blueberries, why not check where they came from? They may well be from Poland!
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With all the berries that they can grow there, blueberry seems like an unlikely favorite.
Watsonville, the Strawberry Capital of the World is just down the coast a bit, yet I still am none too keen on strawberries.