For many centuries, Native Americans gathered fresh blueberries from the forests of North America. Even then, blueberries were revered for their medicinal properties and were consumed year round – either fresh or preserved.
Despite their long-held popularity in North America, blueberries were slow to take off in Australia. The first attempt to grow them was in the early 1950s, by Karel Kroon and Ralph Proctor from the Victorian Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, they had little success.
Two decades later, the Victorian Department of Agriculture decided to try again. This time, David Jones successfully grew several blueberry plants; and his work was carried on by Ridley Bell and Margaret Tucker. Their dedication and enthusiasm towards the creation of an Australian blueberry industry saw the formation of the Australian Blueberry Growers' Association (ABGA) in the mid 1970s.
In the 1980s, the general public began to demand more blueberries, and more sophisticated growing and cultivation techniques were introduced. Since then, commercial production has taken off and the industry has never looked back.
Today, Australian blueberries are prized for their premium quality, delicious flavour and consistency in size.