|▲ Jeongseon Blueberry Cooperative / President Gwangu Kim|
US weekly TIME released 10 super foods in the world in 2002: blueberry, oats, green tea, garlic, tomato, broccoli, almond, red wine, spinach and salmon. Blueberry is rich in anthocyanin known to be good for skin, brain, eye and blood. It is grown vast and wide in North America and was common food for Indians in the region. Farmers like growing blueberry because they can harvest from summer to autumn, a relatively long period of time than other fruits or grains.
Jeongseon as an ideal location to grow blueberry
The blueberry farmers suffering from poor income in Jeongseon County, Gangwon Province, gathered together to share ideas for remedy. They decided to work together and in 2013 set sail the Jeongseon Blueberry Cooperative. In addition to growing blueberry, the farmers started to make spinoff products such as jams and extracts.
It was 2007 that local farmers in the country started to grow blueberry by using the natural environment ideal to grow the fruit. The member farmers of the cooperative agreed not to use any chemical substances but use instead microorganism such as lactobacillus and yeast fungus. As a result, the blueberry in the region has become bigger and tastier than other regions.
The fruit is made into a variety of products: jam, juice, powder, crust and other health functional foods that are marked with its own brand ‘Jamitnun Nongbu (fun farmers)’.
The jam in particular won the first prize at a competition held by the Korea Blueberry Association. The blueberry crust is the first kind and is most popular among students and officer workers for snack. The blueberry stick ‘Eye & V’ designed for eye health especially won the VIP Product of the Year at the 2017 Asia Awards.
The cooperative listed the brand in the 50 Excellent Products of PyeongChang 2018 and received numerous citations and prizes including Gangwon governor’s prize and the 2018 Consumer Satisfaction Brand Awards.
The cooperative recently signed a contract with comedian Hyeryun Jo to spread excellent taste of Jamitnun Nongbu while minimized distribution process and adjusted price that is attractive to consumers. At the same time, the cooperative is pouring part of profits into research and development in cooperation with the county’s agricultural products processing center.
“We hope that our blueberry products can help people live healthier life especially in this time of economic slowdown and virus threat” says Kim.
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