Beginning in July and through mid-August everything will be coming up blueberries at the Chester Housing Authority. CHA staff and residents spent part of Earth Day April 22 planting the agency's newly expanded – and now two-acre – urban farm for the 2015 harvest.
In all, 85 blueberry bushes of four different varieties were planted: Elliot, Pink Lemonade, North Country, and Duke. (Who knew there were so many kinds?) Employees also thinned overgrown vines and the trees they were suffocating– why plant only blueberries? "They do well in our climate; it's a very productive plant," said Terrence Topping-Brown, CHA's Community Farm Manager. "We're designing our farm with forever in mind. If the soil and the plants are well maintained they can survive up to 50 years."According to the Blueberry Council, blueberries have more antioxidants than any other fresh fruit. They have also been shown to reduce belly fat, preserve vision and fight bad cholesterol among other health benefits. The Earth Day event was part of an ongoing effort to encourage families to garden, produce food right in the community and eat healthily. But this was a day when employees led the way, donning their gardening clothes and digging in. Earlier this month students joined with CHA staff and the Urban Tree Connection to build the final of 50 raised planting beds in the community garden at Ruth L. Bennett Homes.