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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.

Authority nutrition

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.

DanikaMilles

Seriously, it gets wild.

Rebloggy

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.

Wolterland Estates

And while all of this is fine and dandy, blueberry season is not for those of weak body or mind.

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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.

(This is why we call them blue gold).
Oxford Frozen Foods

(This is why we call them blue gold).

All due to this guy, John Bragg.

He's basically the Monopoly Man of wild blueberries.
Canadian Business

He's basically the Monopoly Man of wild blueberries.

In order to ship all this product around the world, though, some hardcore dedication by countless farmers and employees has to be given.

Giphy

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.)

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

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.

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.
YouTube

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.

For the next two months, you're pretty much going to see these EVERYWHERE.

You'd best get used to early mornings, because 12-14 hour shifts are the norm.

WeHeartIt

5am comes much too soon.

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

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.
Gabor Degre / BDN

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.

By the end of the day you're covered in dirt...

WeHeartIt

(Without the Liam Hemsworth part, sadly)

And your hands are semi-permanently stained blue.

No amount of lemon juice or hand cleaner will take the stains away either.

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.

WeHeartIt

You are what you eat, after all.

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

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

Pinterest

Hard hats won't save you, however, from some of the crazy forklift drivers whizzing around the building.

Coub

Constantly on edge around forklifts, tbh.

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.

WeHeartIt

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.

Some days, you just can't seem to get ahead of things, and the work just keeps piling up more and more.

It seriously never ends.
jacy_fullerton24

It seriously never ends.

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.

WeHeartIt

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.

WeHeartIt

"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:

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."
jace_f24

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.

WeHeartIt

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...

WeHeartIt

And then *poof* your day off is over and you're right back to work.

A few weeks into the season, you realize you have sold your soul to the devil.

But our devil is big and round and blue and perpetually smiles, and lives in Oxford.
Pinterest

But our devil is big and round and blue and perpetually smiles, and lives in Oxford.

And you just want it to end.

Giphy

But when it's all over, you feel accomplished.

Giphy

After all, you just survived two months of long shifts and exhausting labour.

And you remember that even if your part to play was small, without your hard work the world wouldn't be able to enjoy such delicacies as this:

Silk

Or this:

Skinny Me

Or this:

Blueberry pie is to die for.
Brown Eyed Baker

Blueberry pie is to die for.

Giphy

And let's not forget how beautiful blueberry fields look in the fall. Have you ever seen a deeper red?

Kelly Fullerton

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.

Wild Blueberries
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