United States: Delayed start for domestic blueberry volumes

National blueberry supplies are increasing considerably to meet a high market demand for the fruit.

Florida blueberries

The supplies arriving now follow a delayed start to the southeastern blueberry season. “Harvests in Georgia and Florida were approximately 10-15 days late, depending on the varieties and location. Two weeks ago they had bad weather that created more problems for supplies, ”says Luciano Fiszman of Gourmet Trading Co., based in Redondo Beach, California.

Right now, Central Florida is currently behind in their selection, while North Florida is harvesting good supplies. Georgia is also increasing in volume and will peak in about seven to 10 days. "The good thing is that production lines up with one location after another," says Fiszman.

The role of Mexico

Mexico still has fruits but it has an evergreen production. "Volumes from Mexico do not increase or decrease from week to week," he says. “Traditional crops like Georgia and Florida, in two weeks, for example, you go to harvest and you have three times the fruit. Their selections have a much greater effect on the market than Mexico, whose volumes are more stable, ”says Fiszman. "However, Mexico has been in the driver's seat for West Coast distribution for the past six weeks and will be for another week or two."

Slowed seasons

In Shafter, CA, Gourmet Blueberry California, a company-owned farm saw a slower start to the season than anticipated. However, volumes are expected to progress steadily as the month progresses and the harvest appears strong in size and quality. “We anticipate a strong jumbo blueberry program, which has always been one of the hallmarks of this operation,” says Michelle Carpenter, farm manager. “The warmer temperatures expected this week should be the perfect catalyst to start the season. We are expecting a great harvest «.

All of this meets a market that has a general shortage of all berries: strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. "And when there is a shortage of a berry, usually the market goes and buys another," says Fiszman.

Improve berry delivery

Fiszman also points out that, in general, industry work of berries To create quality year-round supplies that see no gaps has helped make berries an item that consumers shop for on a weekly basis. He also notes that the overall sizes of blueberry packages tend to be larger. "Blueberries used to be packed mostly in smaller containers," he says. “But since people have been at home, a small package does not make much sense because they will eat it quickly. And if the package is larger, the market may continue to sell the same number of packages, but if each package has more volume, then you move more volume.

As for prices, April prices have been significantly above a normal year. “It was higher than in recent years than we can remember. That was coming from March, which was a really difficult month for the business in that transition from the offshore deal to the domestic harvest, ”says Fiszman.

Looking ahead, Georgia's next crop will be North Carolina, which will be produced in the second half of May, although it will not peak until June. On the west coast, after California there will be the production of Oregon also in the second half of June and then Washington and British Columbia in the first half of July.

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