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Published on Aug 10, 2012
During the 5th International Blueberry Development Conference - basically a gathering of 500 academics from China, including a broad swath of scientists from the USA, Poland, Belarus, Chile, Japan, and South Korea represented - held in Yichun in the the beautiful mountain forests of Northern China. The forest here is home to wild blueberry of Northern China, Vaccinium uliginosum. - also known as the bog bilberry. It's receiving increased attention as a crop as well, but it's the highbush, lowbush, and rabbitye blueberries of North America that are being planted heavily. The conference coincided with the Miss International Blueberry Beauty Pageant with 59 young ladies from all over the world competing for the title. This is the third International Blueberry beauty pageant in history. Miss Poland was the winner last year which gave great cheer to the Polish scientists at the conference, and this year's winner was Miss Belarus, which brought great joy to our two Belarus scientists. Miss Blueberry USA - I think her name was Veronica - made the top cut - and Janet and I wanted her to win - but Miss Belarus walked away with the crown. Conclusion. As for blueberry development, China is on a fast track to more acreage and production. There's no doubt that a vigorous marketing and promotion has worked - this Miss International blueberry beauty pageant is a case in point, proving that there's a very first rate marketing and promotion program, geared to increase domestic cosumption. It is working. The processing industry in China has expanded the juice and products world with great vigor . . . the premium pack market is also hot with growing popularity in Shanghai, Beijing, and other large cities, home to a rising class of wealthy citizens. Blueberry products are everywhere in china . . . dried, flakes, juices, in pastries, etc. - and the public is educated on the health benefits of blueberries - and Chinese like the flavor. China will be increasing acreage and blueberry growers are becoming more and more skillful as they gain experience with this new crop in China. There's every reason to believe that China's blueberry industry will be growing at a fast clip for many years. As for beauty pageants, this one gets an A+ for professional exhibition management . . . lights, sound, fireworks, laser lights, entertainment, movie stars, and a huge crowd that enjoyed the extravaganza.