News

Ocean Springs blueberry festival's a hit, no matter the weather

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD 
 Volunteers serve ice cream with blueberries at the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce tent at the Red, White & Blueberry Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Volunteers serve ice cream with blueberries at the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce tent at the Red, White & Blueberry Festival on Saturday, June 4, 2016.

OCEAN SPRINGS -- There's not much better than a cool glass of lemonade on a hot, humid day. Well, maybe there is.

Just add fresh, delicious, locally grown blueberries to the mix.

Indeed, blueberries taste good on just about everything and area farmers can take pride in the fact blueberries are a familiar and popular fruit staple in South Mississippi.

That helps explain why this year's Red, White and Blueberry Festival is always a hit with attendees. The festival, now in its 11th year, is sponsored by the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau.

Rain clouds persisted throughout the day, but little rain fell, Chamber executive director Cynthia Sutton said.

"It started off a little slow this morning when we started. The rain clouds were pretty bad and I think that kept people away. But as the day went on, it picked up and got busier. We're happy with the turnout," she said.

Vendors brought their freshest blueberries to sell in varying fashions. Attendees could pick up blueberry jams, jellies, syrups and pastries.

There was a long line at the chamber's stand where free ice cream and blueberries were being handed out.

"Because of heavy spring rains it's been a great year for the blueberry harvest," vendor Katherine Goggans said. Also, the lack of rain during picking time has helped, she said.

"Usually, if we get a lot of rain when we're picking the harvest, that will separate blueberries from the bunch. This year that wasn't an issue, so we're able to bring more with us today."

Goggan and her husband, Ethan, have been coming to the festival for five years. The two oversee a farm in Vancleave.

Ethan Goggans pointed out blueberries are considered a super food.

"They're high in antioxidants," he said. "It's said they play a role in cancer prevention. It's also said they're good for the brain."

He isn't alone when he says his personal favorite use of blueberries is in pancakes or muffins.

Mack and Carrie Inabinette brought their blueberry harvest to the festival. The Inabinettes also oversee a farm in Vancleave.

Carrie Inabinette said the harvest usually lasts about 45 days. She agreed this year has been a great blueberry harvest. "We usually open on Memorial Day, but opened a week earlier this year."

She said that if you are a fan of blueberries, now is the best time to stock up on them. They will be in harvest for about another month. The season ends about July 4.

  Comments