Canada: British Columbia notches one of its biggest ever blueberry harvests
November 27, 2013

The British Columbia Blueberry Council has registered one of the region’s largest ever seasons for the crop, with a total estimated volume of 107 million pounds.

Warm weather in the late summer and fall meant the figure was shy of the record 115 million pounds produced last year, as it led to  poor flower bud formation in some fields and thus lower yields.

“B.C. had beautiful warm, sunny weather this spring and right through the summer,” said B.C. Blueberry Council executive director Debbie Etsell.

“This resulted in blueberries that were of a very good quality and extra sweet.”

A council release said a sunny spring in 2013 advanced and matured bloom more quickly than usual, and in some cases fields required more bees than were available for optimum pollination levels.

“All of North America’s biggest blueberry growing regions had strong seasons, and with our early start, there was a lot of overlap, and competition for space on the shelves in the grocery store,” Etsell said.

“British Columbia is usually the last region to come into season, so the problem was compounded for us, and our producers definitely had to work harder to get B.C. blueberries into stores with so much other fruit already out there.”

The province has 25,000 acres of blueberry plantings with the main growing areas in Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Surrey, Richmond, Delta and Langley.

The estimate comes out just after an announcement of a trade deal between Canada and the European Union.

“The B.C. Blueberry Council and our growers are looking forward to a more open business relationship with the EU.

“We do currently export to EU markets and have been marketing in the region in preparation for this agreement.

“It’s our hope that the deal will remove the current EU tariff on fresh and frozen blueberries, removing a significant barrier to us expanding exports to this market.”