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It’s blueberry time in North Carolina

Record-high temperatures in North Carolina have proven to be a challenge for local blueberry farmers this May. Despite this, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says consumers can expect a good crop this year.

“Farmers are always at the mercy of weather, and this May was one of the hottest on record,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “But the quality of the crop is still expected to be good.”

Consumers interested in purchasing local blueberries are encouraged to look for the Got To Be NC label when shopping in retail stores. Blueberries are also available at farmers markets, roadside stands and pick-your-own farms across the state.

To celebrate blueberry season, the department will host two Blueberry Days at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh on June 20 and the Robert G. Shaw Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax on June 21. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., visitors can enjoy free samples of blueberries and blueberry ice cream. In addition, market vendors will be selling fresh blueberries and a variety of blueberry products.

North Carolina is the eighth-largest producer of blueberries in the nation. About 6,300 acres of blueberries are grown in the state. In 2017, blueberry production was valued at $53.8 million.

blueberry

Blueberry Sauce with Onion and Tomatoes over Pork. Courtesy Got To Be NC

Blueberry Sauce with Onion and Tomatoes over Pork

GotToBeNC.com

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Your favorite pork chops, tenderloin or roast

2 tablespoons butter

2 medium onions, sliced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup red wine

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 cup fresh or frozen NC blueberries

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Directions:

Fix your favorite pork – pork chops, pork tenderloin or pork roast.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add onions, salt and pepper; cook until onions are golden, about 10 minutes. Add sugar; cook until onions are caramelized, 3 minutes longer. Add the wine, balsamic vinegar, blueberries, tomatoes and herbs and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and serve with the pork.

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