Our Blueberries

Much of our blueberry field, about 400 of each of the winter hardy varies, were released by the University of Minnesota - - Northblue (1983), Chippewa (1996), and Polaris (1996). We also have about 150 of the University of Minnesota variety released in 2010 called Superior. Northland came from Michigan State University in 1967 and Patriot came from the University of Maine in 1976 which worked to develop a winter hardy variety. The interesting thing about the year these varieties where released was that most of them were released not very long ago! See the story about the first sale of blueberries in 1916 under Fun Facts.

Here is a little more about these six varieties:

Those indicated as having “firm” fruit are especially great for eating on their own.

  • Northblue: Large dark blue, firm and crisp, good fresh flavor with no hint of tartness, wild and juicy, excellent storage capability
  • Chippewa: Medium large size, smoothly sweet sky blue, firm fruit
  • Polaris: Large size, light blue berry, firm, has an abundance of aromatic fruit with a great, sweet flavor due to the high proportion of wild blueberries in the plant's heritage
  • Superior: Medium to large in size, firm and low in acidic flavor, light to medium blue, the flavor is balanced and pleasant.
  • Northland: Medium size and mild flavor; great for baking and jams because of their high sugar content.
  • Patriot: Large and dark blue, highly flavored, delicately sweet.

We also have 12 other varieties that were not specifically developed for the hardiness of Wisconsin winters and late spring frosts so we have fewer of the following varieties:

The earliest varieties that generally ripen the first or second week of July are:

  • Duke: extra large, savory sweet (tart), attractive, very firm, high quality berry
  • Polaris: (see above)

The early-to-mid varieties that ripen mid July are:

  • Spartan: large, robust and fruity
  • Draper: large, crisp sweet, light colored berries
  • Blueray: large, classically fresh dessert flavor
  • Toro: an extra large berry that is mildly sweet
  • Patriot: (see above)
  • Northland: (see above)
  • Northblue: (see above)

Mid varieties – ripening the third week of July:

  • Bluecrop: large, classically sweet
  • Bluegold: Medium, delicious sweet, sky blue berries
  • Chippewa: (see above)

Late varieties that will ripen in August:

  • Berkley: large, pleasing light dessert quality sweet fruit that is especially good in pies and muffins
  • Nelson: very large, sweet and flavorful, firm and juicy
  • Bonus: extra, extra large juicy, very sweet, bright blue
  • Liberty: medium berry that is balanced, robust, juicy and firm
  • Elliot: medium, zesty sky blue berries
  • Aurora: medium berry that is fresh and tangy

Storage to maintain their best nutritious properties

  • Refrigerate the berries as soon as you can.
  • When you get them home (if they make it that far), spread out on a single layer, like on a cookie sheet, and take out any unripe fruit, stems or leaves. Also remove damaged fruit so they don’t spread mold to the other berries.
  • DON’T wash them until you are ready to eat them (washing will remove the bloom that protects the berries' skins from degradation)
  • Store in a covered container in the refrigerator where they will keep for about a week, although they will be freshest if consumed within a few days.
  • If kept out at room temperature for more than a day, the berries may spoil.
  • They freeze just great. After cleaning them as described above, freeze them on the cookie sheet (without any cover) and then remove them from the freezer, put in an air tight container or baggie and return to the freezer right away. (If left out too long, they will start to thaw and will stick together in the container.) You can now pour out what you need as individual berries.

We hope you will “taste-test” our varieties in the field and let us know your favorites. As we put new fields in, we want your feedback what you like the best. We will be looking for some volunteers to walk the field, taste the different varieties that are ripe at your visit, and fill out the opinion form. We have nineteen different varies, and like apples, they have their own taste and consistency. Some are sweeter while others have a slightly more tart and tangy flavor. Some varieties of berries are smaller and work great for blueberry muffins, pancakes, and pies, while others are large and great for eating fresh.