The first European settlers enjoyed these berries because they were similar to types of berries that grew in their homeland. The Scots associated them with the blaeberry, the Irish with whortleberries, the Danes with bilberries, the Swedes with blabar and the Germans with bickberren and blauberren. The Native North Americans taught them how to prepare them in various dishes in the New World.
Although blueberries have been harvested and sold in New Brunswick for generations, the modern blueberry industry had its beginnings in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today, the NB wild blueberry industry can rely on cutting edge technology and best management practices that assure a high-quality fruit and a production by 50 million pounds per year.
Over 95% of New Brunswick wild blueberries are sold to processors who clean, sort and grade the berries for freezing. Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) preserves the nutritional value and great taste of berries and makes them easy to pour from the container.
Wild blueberries are sold around the world in over thirty (30) countries. Some key markets are the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and France. China is perceived as an emerging market with a potential equivalent to the US or even more.
The balance of the wild blueberry production is processed in on-farm processing facilities. These berries are processed into an abundance of innovative, tasty products that include wines, beers, liqueurs, vinaigrettes, chutneys, relishes, and dessert sauces as well as traditional favourites like pies, jams and jellies. There are even blueberry wines and liqueurs produced in New Brunswick.