Late-season blueberry supply looks healthy
July 29, 2016

As product from the earlier part of the blueberry season winds down, suppliers look to ramp up with their late-season blueberries and supply appears to be plenty to meet popular demand.

Lori Hickey, marketing manager for HBF International LLC, McMinnville, Ore., said in July blueberries are moving a little slower due to retailers having inventory they are trying to clear out. “We expect to see that change in the next couple of weeks as other areas in the country as well as British Columbia finish up their harvest,” she said.

Matt Curry, president of Curry & Co., Brooks, Ore., said the company is still picking blueberries in Oregon in the Willamette Valley region and are harvesting mid- to late-season varieties — draper, liberty and legacy. From there the company will move to its latest season major variety — the aurora.

“Curry & Co. has had outstanding quality and attributes it to the mild summer with little rain, moderate heat and steady temperatures,” Curry said. “We’d love to have a growing season like this every year.”

Overall, Curry said the crop is compressed some, and he expected to complete the harvest near the end of the July. Typically, they will pick into the first or second week of August.

“This means we will start using our storage (controlled-atmosphere) blueberries earlier than normal so our storage berries will most likely be done shipping by the end of September instead of making it into October,” Curry said.

CarrieAnn Arias of Dole Fresh Vegetables, Monterey, Calif., said Dole blueberries are grown in North Carolina and British Columbia and, new this season, the company will offer a 6-ounce container of organic blueberries.

Jason Fung, director of category development for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, said the company will offer blueberries out of British Columbia and New Jersey through September with peak production in July and August. Following that, blueberries will be flown in from Agentina and Peru for five to six weeks.

Kyla Oberman, director of marketing for Naturipe Farms LLC, Salinas, Calif., said the company’s blueberry production is up 3% with product available from Michigan, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Blueberries will transition to Peru and Argentina in October.

Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Berry Farms, said the company’s blueberry volume will also continue out of the Pacific Northwest into early fall as supply slowly transitions from domestic regions to South America.

The Packer