Blueberries have always been a part of West Michigan. Residents would pick wild blueberries in the woods and marshes along the lakeshore. In the early 1900’s an effort was made to cultivate and grow blueberries commercially. Research was done to find wild varieties of Michigan blueberries and propagate new varieties that would satisfy the consumers desire for this delicious fruit.
The first commercial blueberry plants were planted in the 1940’s. The growth of the industry was slow due to the need of large numbers of workers to harvest the fruit by hand. That all changed in 1968 when Mr. Harvey, of Grand Haven, invented and patented the mechanical harvester.
The commercial blueberry industry continued to grow, with Michigan leading the way being the largest producer of blueberries in the US. Currently, there are approximately 24,000 acres of blueberries in the State of Michigan. West Michigan is the leader of the blueberry industry because of the ideal acidic soils and climate that we have along the lakeshore. Because of blueberries popularity and demand, they are now grown all over the US and the world, but Michigan is still recognized as having the best tasting fresh blueberries.