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Blueberries Overtake Peaches In Georgia

ATLANTA (UPI) — Georgia’s blueberry industry is steadily outpacing “The Peach State’s” famous peach industry, data from the University of Georgia indicates.

The data show the blueberry industry produced $133 million in 2010 — making Georgia the third biggest blueberry-producing state behind Michigan and Oregon — while the peach industry produced $47 million, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Blueberry sales have increased by 500 percent since 2003 while peach sales have remained flat.

More than 19,000 acres of land in Georgia are devoted to blueberry farming compared to 8,000 acres 10 years ago. Only 12,000 acres of land in Georgia are devoted to peach farming, compared to 16,000 acres a decade ago.

The rise of the blueberry industry and the fall of the peach industry has split Georgia residents over their true agricultural identity.

“Georgia law says the peach is what we’re known for, but it’s good to have some diversity when it comes to agricultural economy,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said. “They are providing a good income and land utilization for a lot of our growers.”

“There’s nothing as sweet as a Georgia peach, not even a little old blueberry,” said Perry Swanson, president of the Peach County Chamber of Commerce. “Besides, would people say, ‘That girl’s as pretty as a Georgia blueberry?'”

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