Blueberries – a superfood – are super good for you.
Low in sugar and a good source of fibre, they are packed with antioxidants and high in potassium and vitamin C.
Super foods – yes. But did you know they are grown right here at Castleton Farm?
Of the 1,200 acres we farm, 412 acres produce soft fruit across two sites, and 168 acres are planted with blueberries, 40 acres in pots.
Being more northerly than many soft fruit growers, the combination of long daylight hours and a cooler Scottish climate allows the fruit to ripen slowly. This creates more sugars, producing a delicious sweet berry.
We currently grow 11 varieties of blueberries – Darrow, Chandler, Liberty, Bluecrop, Jolene, Cargo, Valor, Top Shelf, Barbara Anne, Seqoya Grande, Seqoya Crunch.
This list has been growing since 2005, when we first started producing the berries. Ours was one of the first blueberry plantations in Scotland.
Our harvest runs from the middle of July right through to the end of October. We plant the bushes every year and they will crop roughly for about 15 harvests.
Blueberries are native to North America, and related to a similar fruit, called a bilberry – or blaeberry in Scotland – that grows in the wild in the UK.
The blueberry was one of the first foods to be titled a “superfood”.
Blueberries contain one of the highest antioxidant levels amongst commonly consumed fruit and vegetables.
Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C.
They are loaded with a type of antioxidant polyphenol called anthocyanin.
Anthocyanins can reduce the oxidative stress in your body and lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol, potentially lowering your risk of heart disease. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.
Blueberries are both low in sugar and a good source of fibre, as a result they have a low Glycaemic Index (GI). This, together with their high flavonoid content, may help improve insulin sensitivity which is important for managing blood sugar levels.
Researchers at the Rowett institute for Nutrition and Health have shown that drinking a concentrated berry extract significantly lowers glucose levels after eating.
If this is proven to work on a long term basis it may contribute to the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
Including blueberries regularly in your diet may improve vision and guard against age-related macular degeneration.
This is thought to be thanks to the improved blood and oxygen flow to the eyes and the antioxidant protection which may help reduce the likelihood of cataract and macular degeneration.
And of course they taste delicious.
We love blueberries for their vibrant colour, sweet yet tart flavour, and gorgeous smell.
Not only great popped fresh straight into your mouth, they add a bold punch of vibrancy to any smoothie or baked dessert.