Blueberry being named state fruit welcome news to Poplarville residents

Gov. Tate Reeves launched the week by signing several pieces of legislation into law, including HB 1027, officially designating blueberries as the state fruit.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:50 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

POPLARVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - Gov. Tate Reeves launched the work week by signing several pieces of legislation into law, including House Bill 1027, officially designating blueberries as the state fruit.

It all stems from one fourth-grade class in Madison.

“So do y’all think we should sign it? Yes! Well, let’s do it then. Okay?” Reeves said during Monday’s signing.

The announcement is well-received by one Poplarville group that has been celebrating blueberries annually since 1984.

“We’re excited that this young group, while they were studying Mississippi, realized we didn’t have a fruit for Mississippi,” said Shirley Wiltshire, president of the Blueberry Jubilee Council.

The Blueberry Jubilee is a blueberry-themed city fair that attracts more than 10,000 people every year, according to its website.

“This is a fruit that’s grown across Mississippi. It’s just a good fruit and nutritious fruit to eat for any age group,” she said.

Down the road at Mississippi State University’s experimental station, researchers grow blueberries to study, analyzing sugar content among other things across different varieties.

“Blueberries are a very healthy product. I think that’s one of the main drivers over the last few years is, you know, the marketing behind blueberries and showing that they’re really good for you,” said MSU researcher Eric Stafne.

Stafne said blueberries are the most commercially grown fruit in the state, estimating about 2.5 million pounds produced each year, but that’s not all.

“We do have a lot of native, wild blueberries in the state that just grow everywhere in the woods, and you can go and find the bushes very easily. And so, it’s really fitting that, you know, blueberry was chosen for this honor,” he said.

Stafne said these berries are blooming early due to this year’s warmer weather.

“What we need to have happen is more people eat them in more higher quantities because, you know, it would be better for our health but also better for our economy if we can do that,” Stafne said.

Want more WLOX news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.