Signs point to a bright future for blueberry production in the Pacific Northwest. Looking forward, Alan Schreiber, administrator of the Washington Blueberry Commission, said, “Production will continue to climb, both conventional and organic, both processing and fresh. I see the West Coast of North America dominating the blueberry market in the next five to 10 years. I expect you will see big increases in exports in the next five years. I expect to see new kinds of products and packaging.”
In the Pacific Northwest, growers in Washington and Oregon produce quality blues for the national pipeline.
Schreiber said weather was very warm this season, bringing on early production. The harvest began in early June, which he said is very early.
With movement in the early stages of the game, Schreiber said product is just now infusing the pipeline. “Quality seems good,” he went on to say.
Looking at volume, over 100 million pounds of blues are expected from Washington to be marketed this season, a number that is higher than product marketed in 2014.
The Oregon Blueberry Commission provided some information on its website regarding its own industry. “Freshly harvested Oregon blueberries — one of the joys of summer — are on the way, and this year’s crop is looking bigger and better than ever,” the commission states. “In fact, Oregon growers are expected to harvest more than 100 million pounds of blueberries this year, another production record. A bumper crop of fresh blueberries is good news for customers who have increasingly become aware of the advantages of buying local and buying fresh.”
Blueberries are rock stars when it comes to a positive impact on health. “While we tend to think of Oregon blueberries as simply a tasty summer treat, blueberries have been named the star of super foods for a healthy mind and body,” the website continued. “It’s the super food designation that has driven Oregon blueberry production and sales increases in recent years. With such large production numbers, Oregon remains one of the top producing states in the nation. Fresh Oregon blueberries are a hot commodity these days for a lot of reasons — with incredible taste, the highest quality and high nutritional value being just a few.”
Photo: Consumer interest and optimum health continues to drive blueberry sales from the Pacific Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Rainier Fruit Co.)
The Produce News