Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blueberry Wine!

Recently I researched the topic of blueberry wine for the Berry Latest newsletter.  Ten years ago, I called all over the nation looking and found just a handful.   I have always been a fan of Tomasello Winery (Hammonton, New Jersey) and their delicious 100 percent blueberry wines.  Then came along Island Grove Winery in Florida with "Sorta Sweet" and "Kinda Dry."   Now, I searched and found more than 50 blueberry wines!     The product is catching on, and I found blueberry wines produced in more thn 20 states.  We have dry, sweet, dessert and even sparkling blueberry wines.   These are serious wines and not just grape wine flavored with blueberry juice.   Ask any winemaker, and they will tell you it is not that easy to make a blueberry wine due to the high acidity of the blueberry.  Same goes for most fruit wines.  Blueberry winemakers have their own secret methods and formulas.  Some seek very special cultivars that deliver desired flavors.  One thing is sure, the business is booming and more and more wineries are getting into the blueberry business.  With ample supplies of reasonably priced blueberries -- we will see more and more.   So "cheers" to real blueberry wine!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blueberry Pet Foods Continue

Blueberry guy has just returned from the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida.  "GPE" to all of us pet food insiders!  Ten years ago, I walked all over the huge show and saw a few signs of fruits and vegetables in pet foods.  This year, I saw blueberries from the dog and cat food areas to the reptile section!  Blueberries were everywhere.  I wore my Little Blue Dynamo shirt and Blueberry Council ID and received "rock star" reactions from exhibitors who wanted to know more about blueberries.  USHBC provided a bibliography of health benefits, which is focused on human health.  The pet food producers certainly do generalize the human benefits to pets.  Anti-aging, urinary tract, and  eyesight are the main topic of interest.   But, health and beauty is also on the agenda.   Met one company doing reptile foods, alligator foods and even large insects!
Well, look at the MINTEL Global new product database tracking of blueberry containing pet foods.  2012 was a big big year.  Now look at 2014. Three months into the new year and almost 50 percent of the 2012 record year!  Trends:  Healthy bars for human and pet!  Hot Oatmeal for dogs.  Raw foods and pemmican with blueberry.   We'll keep watching this category, and thanks to GPE attendees for thinking of blueberries!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Our "Blueberry Ambassador" in Japan!

I attend a lot of trade shows around the world.  One routine on the first day is the official visit of the Ambassador or Consulate General.  This is typically a quick jaunt through the USA pavillion, meet-and-greets.  Then back to the Embassy.  Today, met Ambassador Caroline Kennedy -- our new US Ambassador to Japan.  She attracts the rock star attention that comes with the Kennedy name.  She systematically made her way through the US exhibits and headed right to the US Blueberries stand!  Not only is she a blueberry fan, she grows them back in Martha's Vineyard.  She mentioned that she had several varieties, understood the lingo of our business.  What a great surprise and a wonderful development to have a blueberry fan at the helm of the US Embassy in Tokyo!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Legal" Blueberry Moonshine

Junior Johnston does it again!  The famous "fast car" driver from North Carolina features a 100 proof blueberry moonshine.  The slogan:  "Any more authentic and it would be illegal!" Uses real North Carolina Blueberries!  Thanks to Dr. Mike Mainland of North Carolina State University Extension for bringing this all the way to the recent USHBC meeting in Southern California.  I will update the blog after I try!
Here is the website for Junior Johnston.
http://www.juniorsmidnightmoon.com/