Agronometrics in Charts: New Jersey Blueberries Off to a Good Start
Blueberry season in New Jersey typically begins in mid to late June and peaks in July, which is National Blueberry Month. The season can extend into August, depending on the type of blueberries being grown. About 80 percent of New Jersey's blueberries come from Atlantic County's 56 farms, which are located near or in Hammonton. The late winter of 2021 and early spring of 2022 saw cold temperatures, rain and wind. “Going into 2022, we saw more snowfall than normal, then we had some normal cold temperatures, and then moving into spring it looked like wind was an issue,” John Galaida of Pleasantdale Farms said in the third week of May. , as he eagerly awaited a good season for New Jersey blueberries. "We also had a lot of wet weather," says Tony Biondo of Trucco Inc. in Vineland, NJ. "However, it turned out that the flowers did set, and the harvest seems to be normal in terms of volume, and we seem to have done quite well with all of that." Biondo says the New Jersey crop has good quality and volume. "It's going to be a great season for New Jersey and we'll probably make it to August," he adds.
New Jersey annually ranks in the top six in the US for blueberry production. Blueberries in New Jersey for 2021 had a production value of $78 million. Farmers harvested 41 million pounds of blueberries on 7500 acres last season. During the peak of the blueberry season, production can reach 250-000 boxes per day. The season started with prices at $300 per pack in week 000, showing a significant increase compared to the previous season, when prices ranged from $24 to $24 per pack.
Blueberries are known as the "King of Antioxidants." They are low in calories and rich in nutrients. Demand is expected to be strong in the market throughout the season. Since supply from North Carolina has almost dried up, New Jersey will be able to get a premium for its blueberries. “Normally there is a lot of volume between all the states. Once it starts, there will only be New Jersey, so the market will stay active unless there is a quality issue later in the season. But right now the quality seems excellent,” says Biondo.
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All US domestic farm product prices represent the cash market at the point of shipment (ie, packing house/climate-controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, price data represents the spot market at the port of entry.
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