Blueberry supply expected to stay steady throughout domestic season

From Fresh Plaza | 8 July 2024

Overview of blueberries in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on July 8, 2024.

Peak volumes of both conventional and organic blueberries are coming out of the Pacific Northwest growing regions right now and it’s anticipated that these volumes will be sustained through to the end of August.

California Giant Berry Farms is harvesting blueberries from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. “So far, growing conditions have been optimal and the season started strong,” says Tom Smith, director of sales, adding that the varieties it is growing are focused on flavor, size, shelf life, high yield, and disease resistance.

Volume isn’t anticipated to be impacted by the upcoming heat wave that will hit the high 90s in Washington and Oregon throughout the holiday weekend. “The Northwest heat only peaks for a couple of hours then drops fast with the setting sun. British Columbia temperatures are ideal in the upper 80s with hopes of starting harvest in seven to 10 days,” says Smith.

blueberry volumes by ori

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

Fall transition

Steady production is anticipated throughout the domestic season, one that is slated to run through early September, and after that, the harvesting of Peruvian fruit will begin.

Strong yields of high-quality fruit are needed to meet the blueberry consumption rates. “However, ever-increasing volumes of fruit present the need to keep demand high,” says Smith. “Efforts by the US Highbush Blueberry Council and marketers are addressing this trend. Studies suggest there’s room for growth even in established markets like the U.S., where nearly half of households don’t yet or consume very little blueberries. As the total supply of blueberries continues to grow and strengthen on a year-round basis, there is a growing need to keep demand high while introducing new varieties that customers and consumers enjoy while maintaining profitability for our growers.”

To help keep that peak supply moving, last year California Giant opened a blueberry packhouse with state-of-the-art sorting and packing abilities. “This has added to our ability to sort for size and quality in packs,” says Smith.

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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