PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- We're in the heart of blueberry season here in Southeastern North Carolina. Each year, the weather plays a role in the sweetness of the blueberry. So how is this year's crop, especially with the 7th Annual NC Blueberry Festival this weekend in Burgaw? You can't have a festival without blueberries.
In Ivanhoe, in northern Pender County, blueberries are big business to the tune of seven to eight million pounds each year. Why is this community home to so many successful blueberry farms? The secret, farmer Willy Moore says, is in the soil.
"It's the soil type here," he said. "We have this leon soil that we have that's just perfect for blueberries in Southeastern North Carolina."
This year, the weather has been kind to the crop. A cold winter and a mild spring are a good combination and mean big berries come June.
"We had a really really nice cold winter, and it helped with our chilling process in the winter," Moore said. "Then we had a really nice mild spring, so the crop got pollinated pretty well, which led to a good crop."
Now that the berries are here, the festival and fun can begin. The only question is, how do you eat your blueberries?
"Blueberry smoothies. I like to eat them frozen myself," Moore said. "People make jams, jellies, cakes and pies and all that."