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HAMMONTON, N.J. (CBS) – Did you know that Hammonton, New Jersey is the blueberry capital of the world?
Well, even if you did, do you know what it takes to get them from the field to your fridge? CBS3’s Pat Gallen saw the process up close at Atlantic Blueberry owned by the Galletta family for over 80 years.
“My dad and his brothers were the original owners. In 1969 we leased another farm, in 1979 we bought that farm and at that point we became the largest cultivated blueberry farm in the world,” said owner Paul Galletta.
But how did Hammonton get that moniker of blueberry capital?
“Blueberries were cultivated and first discovered in New Jersey,” said Galletta.
To become the biggest it all starts on the vine, as fresh berries are hand selected by skilled pickers in the field.
“They’re good. We had very good crop, good quality,” said Galletta.
And New Jersey as a whole is responsible for plenty of those juicy berries around the country.
“In a typical year, Atlantic Blueberry can do anywhere from six to eight million pounds annually. The state of New Jersey does somewhere between 45 and 55,” said Galletta.
After the blueberries are picked, they’re packed. A hundred plus workers inside the plant sift, sort and select only the best for consumption.
“Berries come in from the field. They go on to a syntrifical blower. They go through a color sorter. They go through a soft sorter. Then they go through an inspection belt. They’re put in clam shells. And put in crates and then they are shipped out,” said Galletta.
So next time you eat a blueberry, you’ll know the hard work and dedication put forth to get the best quality on your table.