Delaware Public Media

Delaware could be in a blueberry revival

Jul 13, 2017

State lawmakers and agriculture officials spent the past few days touring farms as part of the third annual Delaware Produce Week.

 


Lawmakers and ag officials have a lot to celebrate this year.

 

Farmer’s markets sales are near historic highs.

 

And State ag secretary Michael Scuse says farms, like Bennett Orchards in Frankford, are planting more blueberries, reviving a once-thriving industry in Delaware.

 

"I would expect that you’re going to see more acreage over the coming years go into blueberries because that demand is there and it’s going to continue to grow,” he said.

 

Blueberries were reportedly common in Delaware between the 1920s and 1980s but faded due to lack of demand.

 

The Bennett Family saw an opportunity to try to revive blueberry production and in 2010 applied for a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant to prepare the soil and buy plants.  

 

With about 6,000 productive blueberry bushes, the farm presently has one of the largest operations in Delaware.

 

Community Supported Agriculture programs are also growing in popularity in Delaware. CSAs provide subscribers with a weekly box of produce from a local farm.

Fifer Orchards outside Wyoming announced during produce week its CSA program has grown from 50 members in 2011 to nearly 800 today -a 1,500 percent increase.

 

Delaware Produce Week is designed to introduce community members and lawmakers to the state’s 240 family farmers.

 

It wraps up at the Glasgow Park Farmer’s Market in Bear on Friday.

Delaware Farmers' Market Sales
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