All berry varieties prove popular in summer

From The Packer | 22 July 2022

Overview of berries in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on July 21, 2022. 

Strawberries aren’t the only kind of berries consumers love to indulge in during this time of year.

Grower-shippers say blackberries, raspberries and blueberries also are summertime favorites.

“Late-summer is a great time to promote blackberries and raspberries,” said Kasey Kelley, senior director of business development for Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farms.

“Domestic regions will still be in production, and we’ll also be starting the new crop harvests from Mexico, which will have great quality and availability,” he said.

In mid-July, the company was just gearing up to hit peak volumes.

“The 2022-2023 season will be our biggest raspberry season ever,” Kelley said.

raspberry volumes by his 3

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Summer got off to a slow start on blueberries, but Naturipe expected to see strong supplies of blueberries through mid-August.

Raspberry movement from Watsonville, Calif.-based Well-Pict Inc. was strong in May and June, and flattened in July, but should come back with big numbers in August and probably pick up into October or November, said Jim Grabowski, director of marketing.

“The market for raspberries has been good all summer,” he said. “Raspberries have really caught on as an everyday item for a lot of people. They’re no longer a specialty item.”

Blueberry movement is up nearly 26% over last year, according to the Folsom, Calif.-based U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

“We believe that the increase in movement has been, in part, due to USHBC’s comprehensive promotional programs working toward our vision of making blueberries the world’s favorite fruit,” said Kasey Cronquist, president of USHBC and the North American Blueberry Council.

As part of Grab a Boost of Blue, the USHBC’s consumer call to action, the council has created a comprehensive marketing platform designed to celebrate blueberries and drive category sales, he said.

Michigan, Washington and Oregon have recently started blueberry harvests; California and New Jersey have largely wrapped up their season; and Mexico, Canada and Peru are also harvesting and importing blueberries, USHBC reports.

blueberry volumes by ori 35

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

According to the July 18 crop report from Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Berry Farms, blueberry quality from Mexico was fair. Isolated hail and windstorms in Central Mexico affected the fruit. Production was light.

In Washington, organic quality was very good and production was steady, and in British Columbia, quality was good, and volume was picking up quickly and should remain steady for several weeks.

Raspberries from Mexico were of good quality, but there was some soft fruit because of wet weather. Production was increasing, and quality was expected to improve.

California Giant reported that blackberry quality was good out of Mexico, but volumes were small but steady. Production was anticipated to increase toward the end of August. Quality in Watsonville was good, and production was steady.

Plant City, Fla.-based Wish Farms is offering blueberries, raspberries and blackberries this summer, said Nick Wishnatzki, public relations manager.

“Berry quality across all commodities is very good,” he said.

Irvine, Calif.-based Gem-Pack Berries LLC was shipping Mexican-grown raspberries and blueberries out of McAllen, Texas, said Craig Casca, chief marketing officer.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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