Mild summer leads to blueberry boom
Some residents in the Upper Peninsula are reporting a large increase in this yearâ??s wild blueberry crop due to the colder weather and more precipitation.
â??There are millions and billions and trillions of berries here,â?? said Paradise resident Claudia Stanko-Bedell. â??There is enough for everyone.â??
Stanko-Bedell said wild blueberries started covering the field where forests were desimated by wildfires in the 1920â??s.
â??After the fires Enormous crops of blueberries took the place of the forest,â?? said Stanko-Bedell.
The festivities started years ago after wild fires destroyed much of the forest in the 1920s.
Decades after the wildfires, residents of the village of Paradise started the Wild Blueberry Festival to celebrate what wild blueberry did for their town.
Nearly 6,000 visitors come to the town on the third weekend in August for the celebration.
The Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce Director Sue Anway said the festival is their busiest weekend.
â??They are staying in motels, camping at state parks, eating at restaurants, shopping in our gift shops,â?? said Anway.
Due to the milder temperatures, some Upper Peninsula residents expect the wild blueberry picking season to last until the end of August.
â??I love to pick wild blueberries for the peace and serenity and for the healthy-antioxidant superfoods,â?? said Stanko-Bedell.
The Wild Blueberry Festival runs from Friday morning until Sunday night.
Festivities will include music, family-friendly events, crafts and foods made from wild blueberries.