Is Tabulam the blueberry capital of Australia?
THE upcoming Blueberry Festival will be the perfect grandstand for Tabulam to proclaim itself Australia's blueberry capital.
On Saturday, May 13, the community will gather on the Tabulam Oval to celebrate and recognise the fruit's growing importance to the local economy.
The village is home to Mountain Blue Farms, considered to be one of the top three blueberry producers in the country and showing no sign of slowing down its production, having not long unveiled a new $3 million packing plant.
The package plant was conceived to help cope with increased demand and independent analysis for the Kyogle Council has shown the operation of the packing plant is expected to bring at least $8.9 million in additional economic output to the area.
Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland has been working closely with organisers to successfully promote the area as the nation's blueberry capital.
"Council is delighted to be working as a partner in the Blueberry Festival. It is a signature event featuring blueberries which grow amazingly in the region," Cr Mullholland said.
"I hope to see the festival grow into an annual event that attracts visitors from across the Northern Rivers and South East Queensland."
In a further development to help support Tabulam's claim to blueberry fame, Coles has offered a $400,000 interest-free loan to Mountain Blue Farms to invest in equipment and more staff to grow new varieties of Eureka blueberries.
Blueberry Festival organiser Vicki Stebbins said there would be a puppet show and jumping castle to entertain the children, as well as buskers, market stalls, industry displays, information stands and delicious blueberry creations all showcasing what Tabulam has to offer.
"The CWA will be selling scones and blueberry jam and cream as well as jars of blueberry conserve, jam and compote," Mrs Stebbins said.
Mountain Blue Farms, Soft Agriculture and Enova Energy will be among the information stands at the festival.
Further community involvement includes the CWA's very own Vicki Atkinson shaving her head to raise money for local emergency services and Tabulam Rural Fire Service putting on a sausage sizzle.
Festival visitors are encouraged to wear blue-coloured clothes to the event, as there will be cash prizes for the "most interesting" blue costumes.
For more information see www.tabulam-blueberryfestival.com