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Food and Drink

Blueberries for Health: The tastiest one’s are grown in Coroglen

Personal: My health condition has had me searching for foods which will stabilize and support my health. Health gurus have various suggestions but they all agree on the health benefits of one food – blueberries. Consequently, for a year now I have been having some blueberries as part of my breakfast.
 |  Stan Stewart  |  ,

I normally buy them at a supermarket. The problem is they are always sour! Yuk – teeth on edge! But, that all changed when I met Wendy Sherriff on a stall at the Whitianga Saturday Morning Market. Seeing the blueberries piled up in plastic containers I asked could I taste a couple. Eureka! They were sweet. My mouth could hardly believe it.

Their appearance was exactly the same as the supermarket product but their taste was sublimely different.

I have since asked Wendy why this was so? She doesn’t know why.

“We just grow them,” she says. Did Wendy and Kelly add some sweetener in the soil or some other addative? “Nothing of the sort”, said Wendy. “We just grow them in the normal way”.

You can obtain these divine, health inducing, sweet fruit at the Whitianga Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. You can buy them seven days a week at the fruit and veggie stall on Hodge Road, Coroglen. And you will find them at Farmer’s Markets around the Coromandel.

And, or you can order them through the site which often appears on ‘Whiti ChitChat.”

Kelly and Wendy have been married for 52 years. They met at the New Year’s Eve dance in the Whitianga Town Hall, when they were both 14 and they married at 20.

With their three children they lived mostly in Auckland but also for years in Whitianga where their children attended the Mercury Bay Area School.

Kelly, an excavation contractor, came back to Whitianga to work on the establishment of sewerage for the town.

They have now been in Coroglen for 20 years. When they purchased their farm block in the Coroglen valley, they wondered what they could do to produce an income.

That’s when the idea arose that they could try growing blueberries. They had no experience with this kind of enterprise. They knew it had the potential to be a cash crop. A blueberry orchard would not require too much land. At the very worst it would be an interesting hobby.

They now have a netting enclosure containing 1500 trees. In the season their orchard provides employment for up to 8 people. Many of these are family. Grand children have been part of the team on school holidays. Out of season, with pruning, fertilizing, weed control etc., the orchard keeps Kelly and Wendy busy for most of the year.

Busy yes, but Kelly and Wendy do not resent the work. “What would we be doing if we didn’t have the berries? Wendy asks. “Sitting around watching TV?” “Yuk, that sounds horrible”.

As with every other orchard, the berries are vulnerable to the seasons and along with the rest of the Coromandel, the Sheriffs have had some bad ones. However, the good seasons make up for the down times. This season looks to be very positive with fruiting possibly lasting into April.