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Enjoy N.J. blueberries at the peak of their season in a delicious grilled chicken salad

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture highlighted national Blueberry Day again this year on Friday, July 8, with special visits to the shore towns of Wildwood, Atlantic City and Seaside Heights where NJDA marketing staff distributed free Jersey Fresh blueberries to beachgoers.

“Jersey Fresh fans showed their enthusiasm for blueberries as this was a very popular event last year and we are thrilled to return,” NJDA Secretary Douglas H. Fisher said in a statement. “Our farmers produce great tasting, plump blueberries that are a highlight of the growing season here in the Garden State.”

Blueberries were the No. 1 crop in New Jersey for 2021 with a production value of $78 million, according to the USDA. New Jersey annually ranks in the top six in the U.S. in the production of blueberries. Farmers in the Garden State harvested 41 million pounds of blueberries on 8,900 acres last year.

The blueberry season for New Jersey lasts through the end of July. During the height of blueberry season, production can be as high as 250,000-300,000 crates per day. Eating blueberries is beneficial to health as they are low in calories and high in nutrients.

Fun fact: The cultivated blueberry was first grown in New Jersey in 1916 by Elizabeth Coleman White in Burlington County.

Try our favorite blueberry salad recipe below, courtesy of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

Grilled Chicken Blueberry Pecan Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Chicken Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder

Honey Mustard Dressing Ingredients

  • 1⁄4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 cups red leaf lettuce
  • 1 1⁄2 cups blueberries
  • 1 Gala apple, cored and sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, toasted

Instructions

Chicken Instructions

  1. Preheat grill for direct heat grilling.
  2. Season chicken breasts with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and garlic powder and grill, turning once, until chicken is cooked through. Let stand 10 minutes; slice and reserve.

Honey Mustard Dressing Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whisk honey, Dijon mustard, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until blended.

Salad Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine lettuce, blueberries, apple, red onion and pecans and toss with some (about 1/2 cup) of the dressing.
  2. Arrange sliced chicken over lettuce mixture and drizzle with additional dressing.

READ MORE: Gov. Murphy announces free entry to state parks beginning Memorial Day weekend

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