City People’s bare root tree sale is beginning now and going through March (and with part of the proceeds being given to City Fruit!) So I decided to head over to CP after hearing tales of endless varieties of figs, kiwis, apples, and more. I was especially intrigued by the large selection of blueberry varieties available as I have the unfortunate combination of very little knowledge but plenty of exposure to blueberries (my grandparents had blueberry bushes on their farm and I can still hear my grandma saying, “blueberries are brainberries,” every time I plop one into my mouth). Alison Green from City People’s was kind enough to talk to me a bit about the process of fruit tree purchasing and specifically about all the different varieties of blueberries.
The blueberry bushes at City People’s are three years old and have come from various vendors throughout the Northwest, from Vashon Island and Mount Vernon all the way down to Northern California, with a majority of the nurseries located in Southwest Oregon. Every year nurseries develop new varieties to fit most any gardener’s desires. There are highbush cultivar (at least 6 feet tall called Aurora and Duke) all the way down to 1 foot (Chandler). Some ripen in the summer (Bluecrop and Reka) and some ripen in the fall (Polaris). There’s even one type that grows PINK BLUEBERRIES (Pink Lemonade)! There are many other considerations like color of flowers and fall foliage, sun exposure, soil type, foliage density, water needs, etc. Alison did emphasize that for pollination purposes, it is very important to buy at least two different varieties of blueberries.
Alison also explained to me that blueberries are one of the most popular fruits they sell because, as she described it, they have “tri-seasonal” appeal, meaning that a majority of the year they provide an aesthetic that landscapers appreciate (white or yellow blooms in the spring, green foliage in the summer, and vibrant yellows and oranges in the fall) in addition to providing delicious fruit.
My time wandering City People’s made me very excited to purchase new trees for my sister’s farm on Whidbey Island. I’ll certainly have grandma’s words in my ears as I do-her number one daily suggestion for us grandkids when we visited the farm was to “go outside and get dirty!”