State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is quite correct in claiming Wisconsin should be designated as America’s Berryland as well as America’s Dairyland. July is berry time in Wisconsin and DATCP’s assertion that you will live longer if you eat more Wisconsin blueberries, if you ask medical experts, is true.
Blueberries are categorized as a “superfood” that everyone should eat to reduce cholesterol and fight off heart disease and cancer. The fruit contains valuable antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E, and according to the US Highbush Blueberry Council, researchers have shown that a serving of fresh blueberries provides more antioxidant activity than many other fresh fruits and vegetables.
The USDA Human Nutrition Research Center (HNRC) is studying the effect of blueberries on the aging process. Thus far, initial tests indicate people who ate a cup of blueberries a day performed 5–6% better on motor skills tests than a control group.
Mid-July is perfect blueberry picking time in southern Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Berry Growers Association recommends that you pick early in the morning when it’s cool and before the sun softens the blueberries. Early evening when the sun is setting is also a good picking time.
Just look under leaves for the fruit. Use one hand to grab the branch and the other hand to pick. All fully ripe berries with no green or white tips should be picked and handled carefully. Piling them too high will crush the berries on the bottom.
If you prefer buying prepicked berries in the supermarket or at a farmer’s market, watch for blueberries that are fresh and fully ripe, shiny, and have plump flesh. If leaves are attached, they should be fresh and green. If the container has stains, that means the blueberries are losing their juice and are overripe. Buy the blueberries by weight.
When you get the blueberries home, keep them out of the sun and heat. Sort them by removing the overripe or moldy blueberries, and refrigerate in loosely covered containers. Don’t wash until the blueberries are going to be eaten.
A half cup of blueberries has 43 calories and 0.3 grams of fat.
Here are more details from DATCP and from webmd.com about the blueberry’s superfood status.