(05/23/22) BATON ROUGE, La. — You probably already know that Louisiana blueberries are in season, but where to find them has been a bit of a mystery — until now.
Many consumers already know of local growers, farmers markets, roadside stands or grocery stores where you can buy local produce, but there are also some websites that can help you find it.
LSU AgCenter horticulture agent Mary Helen Ferguson said the Louisiana MarketMaker site allows you to search for a particular product. LocalHarvest is also a site that is nationwide and provides information in a similar way to the MarketMaker site.
“In 2020, the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) partnered to put together a map of local producers,” she said. “This is available under the Louisiana Farm Food Map and Directory on the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Coronavirus Information Center site.”
For those specifically interested in a pick-your-own experience, PickYourOwn.org provides information about u-pick farms. First, select Louisiana either from the list of states or on the map. Then, choose the parish in which you’d like to visit a farm.
To find growers who are part of LDAF’s Louisiana Grown program, you can go to louisianagrown.com and choose “where to buy.”
If you’re thinking of going to a u-pick farm, visit its website or call first to make sure it will be open when you plan to go, Ferguson said.
AgCenter horticulturist Heather Kirk-Ballard said blueberry fruit is one of the richest sources of ascorbic acid and is an excellent source of antioxidants.
Blueberries contain natural compounds called anthocyanins, procyanidins, chlorogenic acid and flavonoids. Anthocyanin is the main antioxidant found in blueberries.
“They provide us with cancer-fighting power, help with cataracts and macular degeneration, have anti-diabetic properties and have been shown to decrease both blood pressure and cholesterol, thereby reducing the incidence of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease risk. Just eat them,” Kirk-Ballard said.
Local growers already have some southern highbush blueberries available, and the more standard rabbiteye blueberries will begin producing fruit soon, Ferguson said.
Rabbiteye blueberries. Photo by Mary Helen Ferguson/LSU AgCenter
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture