Blueberry of the Andes Pichincha has the characteristics of the three regions of mainland Ecuador: coast, sierra and Amazon. This explains the diversity of its agricultural production of bananas, coffee, barley, corn, potatoes, custard apples, avocadoes and blueberries. The blueberry (Vaccinium floribundum kunth) is of Andean origin; it is a unique product of the paramo and sub-paramo ecosystems, which have remained wild. It is an endemic fruit species, considered to be the “Miniature Jewel of the Fruits”. It is widespread around Pasochoa, Atacazo and Rumiñahui Volcanoes, and on the plains of El Pedregal, with plants that bear fruit during most of the year. Its fruit, which is approximately 5 mm in diameter, with a delicious slightly sweet taste, has a high content of anthocyanins, which gives them their dark purple colour. Blueberries have been consumed since time immemorial by people who found them in abundance in the mountains. Along with
blackberries, they are the fruit of the mountaineer. Their most traditional and ancient use is for making colada morada on the Day of the Dead. They are also used in jams, sweets, pies, ice cream, liqueurs and juices. This gift from Pacha Mama contains sugar, phosphorous, calcium, iron and potassium. It is a refreshing fruit with health benefits: its A, B and E vitamins help with tissue regeneration and improves sight; its high content of antioxidants contribute to protecting red blood cells and the body in general; its flavonoids help prevent the accumulation of fat in the arteries, which is the main cause of cardiovascular disease; its consumption is especially recommended in treating colds and aching joints.