There’s a reason why the blueberry is Mississippi’s official state fruit.
The state’s largest commercial fruit crop, blueberries are plentiful and have a significant economic impact.
“The acreage for blueberries in Mississippi is estimated to be between 1,000 and 1,500 acres. The production results in 1.5 to 3 million pounds of fruit,” said Eric Stafne, fruit and nut specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Most of Mississippi’s blueberries remain in the state and are sold at local grocery stores, roadside stands, and at “U-Pick” farms. Other blueberries go to other states, such as Texas, and some have been sold overseas in the past, Stafne said.
The abundance of blueberries in Mississippi is down to soil conditions.
“The Pine Belt region of Mississippi has the proper soil pH for abundant blueberry plant growth. There are several blueberry species native to Mississippi. The most popular type is rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium virgatum).
Poplarville is blueberry central in Mississippi and home to the annual Blueberry Jubilee.
In 1983, the first Blueberry Council met to begin planning the first Blueberry Jubilee. The brainchild of Mimi Montieth and Mary Hough, their goal was to create a festival showcasing Pearl River County and the small jewel of the south, the blueberry, according to festival organizers.
The first Blueberry Jubilee in 1984 had a humble beginning with only a handful of craft vendors situated on the Pearl River County Courthouse lawn. Since that time, the Blueberry Jubilee has grown and flourished and now hosts about 200 arts and crafts booths annually.
CoastConnect, the broadband internet subsidiary of Coast Electric, is one of the sponsors of the jubilee.
This year’s Blueberry Jubilee will be held June 10 in downtown Poplarville from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information about the festival, visit www.blueberryjubilee.net
Want to pick your own blueberries?
Here are some U-Pick Farms in Mississippi
Always check the farm by phone or social media to check on picking hours and availability of fruit, and prices.
Amber’s Blueberry Farm
515 Chicord River Road, Waynesboro
Blueberry Acres Farm
5307 Hwy. 43N, Carriere
Overnight Blueberry French Toast
- 6 slices day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes, separated
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cheese.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, maple syrup, cornstarch, vanilla extract, sugar, and water. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Place the remaining half of the bread cubes on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes or until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.