4 Michigan Blueberry Festivals to Visit this August

July was proclaimed National Blueberry Month by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1999. Blueberries are grown in 35 states in the USA and the United States is responsible for 90% of blueberry production in the world. Michigan has many blueberry farms that contributes to this delicious and healthy fruit.

Michigan has many blueberry farms and celebrates this antioxidant-rich fruit during festivals this summer. Here are a few to check out.  Trust me, you won’t want to miss these:

  1. The 31st Annual Imlay City Blueberry Festival in Imlay City, Michigan on August 5-6
  2. The 48th Annual National Blueberry Festival in South Haven, Michigan from August 11-14
  3. The 40th Annual Montrose Blueberry Festival in Montrose, Michigan from August 18-21
  4. The 26th Annual Wild Blueberry Festival in Paradise, Michigan from August 19-21

One of my favorite summertime memories as a child is not only attending some of these blueberry festivals, but also going blueberry picking with my family. Many times, I ate as many blueberries as I picked. Yum! They are in season now, so check out some of the Michigan farms that allow you to pick your own blueberries; in Dexter, Michigan, Rambo Blueberry Farm or Pick Your Own Farms in Michigan.

For Your Health

The unique blue color of this fruit offers many health benefits. Blueberries contain fiber, vitamin C and E, along with a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals to keep you healthy. Blueberries are known to have the highest antioxidant levels based on the ORAC system (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). Some of the other health benefits include:

  1. The ability to fight free radicals in the body, which battle cancer and have the ability to prevent cancer causing agents
  2. By fighting free radicals, this also helps fight against chronic conditions and helps promote heart health
  3. Defying age by helping to avoid any memory loss
  4. Anti-inflammatory properties to aid those with arthritis, gout and other aging processes
  5. Promoting urinary tract health

Recipes

The wonderful sweet and slightly tart taste of the blueberry is wonderful for both savory dishes and delicious desserts. Here are a few from Eating Well that I have tried and offer a new way to eat blueberries.

  • Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad – When I make this, I like to add more vegetables than the recipe calls for, Usually, whatever I have in my fridge goes and adds great color. Some of my favorite additions are bell peppers and grape tomatoes.
  • Blueberry and Ricotta Pancakes – I have made this a few times for brunch and it always gets rave reviews. I usually put about 2 tablespoons of lemon zest in the recipe. I also squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the batter or on top of the pancakes. Blueberries and lemons complement one another. Enjoy!
  • Teriyaki Pork Chops with Blueberry-Ginger Relish – This blueberry-ginger relish is AWESOME! I have made it to go on these pork chops, but also had it on top of chicken, turkey, fish  and steak. My favorite is actually putting it on chicken, turkey and as a salad dressing.
  • Blueberry Cupcakes – I love the flavor in these because it is a blueberry and coconut combination – and, I love both. The fun secret ingredient is potatoes. Yes: there are mashed potatoes in these cupcakes. They will be adored by everyone you serve them to, but they are labor intensive.

I truly enjoy blueberries.  They are great in my cereal or oatmeal, as a snack, in salad, part of a main meal and of course – in any dessert. What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy blueberries? Do you have a favorite recipe?

Photo Credit:  c.a.s.e.y

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