With the arrival of spring, we not only have a nicer weather to enjoy, but at the farm, it means a busy season ahead of us to prepare the land before the harvesting begins. We mow the lawn, prune the bushes and get rid of unwanted twigs, we do some root trimming and begin a regular watering schedule to ensure proper growth and boost production.
Spring also means bringing bees to the farm! Did you know that bees are an essential part of blueberry growing? Without them, we couldn’t have beautiful and juicy blueberries to enjoy in the summer. They do a wonderful work pollinating the flowers and therefore ensuring a healthy crop yield. Bumble bees are native bees from North America that have pollinated blueberry plants for centuries, but unfortunately this type of native bee is almost extinct and certainly there is not a big enough population to help grow all the blueberry crops in the lower mainland.
The honey bee is a species that was introduced in North America by the European many years ago. They have been domesticated and kept in beehives that we bring every year to the farm so they can do their magic and spread the pollen from flower to flower. This is how the blueberry growth process begins! We’ve hired approximately 300 honeybee hives, which is equivalent to over 7,000,000 bees! They typically stay for a period of two months before retiring back to their beehives until next season.
Some fun facts about blueberries:
- Honey bees -the main type of bee that is currently used for pollinating blueberry bushes- can be a bit fussy and shy… they only like to come out when there is nice sunny weather. If it rains, they don’t seem to like to go to work.
- New research studies suggest that eating at least one serving of blueberries per day can help prevent memory loss.
- Blueberries should have a dust coat on them, but you should not get rid of the dust until you are ready to eat them or else they will get spoiled. Store your blueberries directly from the bushes and wash them when you are ready to serve.
- One cup of blueberry a day can help with constipation problems as this will provide you with 15% of the recommended daily fiber intake.
- Blueberry “flavour” is difficult to replicate and most blueberry-flavoured foods do not contain any blueberry at all. If you want to try a real blueberry juice made from real fruit, try Bremner’s only.