Nova Scotia's wild blueberry, worth $40 million in export sales to 30 countries, is celebrating its 15th anniversary as the province's official berry.
"Wild blueberries are the number one fruit crop in size and export sales in Nova Scotia," says Agriculture Minister John MacDonell. "We're very proud to support a homegrown product that contributes greatly to our economy and provides jobs for more than 3,000 Nova Scotians who are either directly or indirectly employed by the industry."
Proclaimed the provincial berry Jan. 11, 1996, the wild blueberry is often touted for its medicinal benefits.
"Early research suggested the antioxidant power of blueberries was responsible for health benefits," says Wilhelmina Kalt, research scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She is investigating the berry's health attributes. "More recently, research indicates blueberries may be important in reducing inflammation that comes with disease and aging."
Health research is examining the blueberry's benefits in areas such as cardiovascular health, neuroscience, cancer, inflammation, aging and, more recently, diabetes and sight.