Blueberry growers are gearing up for another good season, as more and more New Zealanders enjoy the fruit.
Locally grown blueberries are in shops already, despite the main blueberry season running from December to March.
- Cherry growers face worker shortfall as industry booms
- Heat attracts record-breaking numbers of berry pickers
The berries are proving increasingly popular with New Zealanders, with almost half of all households purchasing fresh blueberries last year.
Dan Peach, Chairman of Blueberries New Zealand, expects that trend to continue over the 2018/19 summer.
"Last summer New Zealand families bought fresh blueberries around 3.5 times each, meaning each household consumed an average volume of 730g," he said.
He believes their marketing campaign using New Zealand Olympian Eliza McCartney is boosting sales.
"We expect those numbers to rise significantly this summer, partly thanks to our high profile association with Eliza," said Mr Peach.
He said more people are developing a keen awareness of the nutritional power of blueberries, which have higher antioxidant levels than just about every other fruit and vegetable.
New Zealand's blueberry industry is rapidly expanding with 600 hectares planted at present in both the North and South Islands.