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Things You'd Only Understand If You Grew Up In The World Of Wild Blueberries

Blueberries, or blue gold?

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Wild blueberries. They’re one of nature’s superfoods, filled with antioxidants and packed with delicious flavour. How can you not love them, am I right? But what most people (like, 99.95% of the world’s population) don’t realize is the blood, sweat and tears that come before you are able to purchase and enjoy those delicious little blue balls.

For anyone growing up in an area where wild blueberries are harvested, you know that the first sighting of these little white flowers in June signifies the beginning of the craziest time of the year.

Blueberries are important to us here. So much so that the blueberry capital of Canada (and let’s be honest, probably the world) is right here in Nova Scotia. And we’re proud of it.

In 1968, Oxford Frozen Foods was founded as a small, family-operated company. Today it includes 8 manufacturing facilities as well as two large farming operations in Atlantic Canada and the United States. In almost 50 years, blueberries have gone from a fresh summer treat to a million-dollar industry.

Basically, you sacrifice two months of your life every year just to harvest the blueberries. (This doesn't include the months of prep beforehand, either.)

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Goodbye to swimming, tanning, drinking, friends, and basically any social life left of the summer :(

Your to-do list for the rest of the summer will basically look like this.

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And even if you tell your friends a million times your work schedule is brutal, they still ask you to make plans and still get annoyed every time you have to tell them you can't.

If you're ~lucky~ enough to be the kid of a blueberry farmer, your childhood summers basically looked like this.

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There's no such thing as "child labour" when you're a farmer! It just builds character and shows you the worth of a dollar. Childhood and summer vacations are overrated anyway.

Sometimes it's tempting to sneak a few berries to yourself while you're scooping them, but then the irrational thought that too many will turn you as blue as your hands quickly makes you rethink your snack habits.

Or maybe you're one of those people who work on the processing end of blueberries. That's a whole different world of ~fun~.

The Rick Mercer Report

What Rick Mercer didn't show you is just how glamorous the job can be.

First, you get to wear these helmets that not only seem to clash with literally any colour you wear, but that also conveniently fall over your eyes at the most inopportune times.

And don't forget the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that's mandatory! You'll be sweating like a mofo by the end of the day and there's nothing you can do about it.

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Imagine having to wear pants, sleeved shirts, work boots, a hairnet and a hard hat underneath the blazing sun on an August afternoon when the temperature is 30 degrees Celsius? Yeah, heat stroke is a real thing people.

Things break down constantly, they run twice as fast afterwards to make up for lost time, half the shift doesn't show up, or your supervisor yells at you for seemingly no reason. Maybe a combination of everything. But it seems like every day is just not your day.

Because it's a male-dominated industry, if you're a female you have to deal with A LOT of sexism and inappropriate comments made at your expense.

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Talk about my ass or how you'd be more qualified for my job one more time, I dare you.

And sometimes it takes a few pep talks to get you through your day.

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"No, I love my job. I love when guys that look like Grizzly Adams hit on me. I love being treated like I'm incompetent. I love it all."

The LAST thing anyone wants to see when opening up the back of a trailer is this:

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But watching one of your coworkers spill berries, on the other hand, is pretty hilarious. Usually the first person to spill berries every summer gets a laminated certificate to commemorate their "accomplishment."

Oh, and don't even get me started on the spiders.

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They're everywhere. In the berries, on the totes, on the walls, making webs in doorways, scurrying across the floor... It's literal hell.

When your day off finally comes you feel so excited to get out and do something, but you usually just end up spending the day sleeping because you're so tired...

Support your local blueberry farmers by purchasing local wild blueberries instead of the high-bush berries in grocery stores! Wild blueberries are higher in antioxidants and just have a sweeter, juicier taste to them. And trust me, local blueberry farmers will thank you.

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