Southeast U.S. blueberry shipments showed mixed trends in 2021, USDA data shows.
Florida blueberry shipments in 2021 were 21.89 million pounds, up 28% from 17.06 million pounds in 2020 but down 4% from 22.75 million pounds in 2019.
Shipments of Florida blueberries peaked in April in 2021, when 70% of the season’s total shipments were recorded. That compares with 10% of the season’s volume moved in March and 20% moved in May, according to the USDA.
Total organic blueberry shipments from Florida totaled 2.35 million pounds in 2021, up threefold from 7.6 million pounds in 2020 and 7.2 million pounds in 2019.
In 2021, Florida blueberries traded April 24 on the Atlanta terminal market at $37-$39 per 12 1-pint cup flats with lids. That price eased in mid-May, with prices reported of $17-$29 per flat on May 15 and $17-$20 per flat on May 22. The last week in which Florida blueberry prices were reported at the Atlanta terminal market in 2021 was June 19, when Florida blueberries traded at $17-$21 per flat of 12 1-pint cups.
Total Georgia blueberry shipments were 45.95 million pounds in 2021, up 36% from 33.12 million pounds in 2020 and 4% higher than 43.14 million pounds in 2019.
Nearly 65% of Georgia’s blueberry shipments occurred in May, compared with 5% of shipments in April and 30% of volume moved in June.
Georgia organic blueberry shipments in 2021 were 4.19 million pounds, compared with 760,000 pounds in 2020 and 3.15 million pounds in 2019.
At the Atlanta terminal market, Georgia blueberries traded at $48 per flat of 12 1-pint cups with lids on May 1, but that price declined to $17-$24 per flat by May 15, rising to $24-$25 per flat by June 5 and then trading at $16.50-$19 per flat by the end of June.
North Carolina blue
North Carolina blueberry shipments were 17.05 million pounds in 2021, down 5% from 18.59 million pounds in 2020 and down about 38% from 26.84 million pounds in 2019.
In 2021, 62% of North Carolina blueberry volume was shipped in June, compared with 32% of volume moved in June and 6% shipped in July.
Total North Carolina organic blueberry shipments in 2021 totaled 350,000 pounds, down from 490,000 pounds in 2020 and 510,000 pounds in 2019.
At the Chicago terminal market in late June and early July 2021, the USDA North Carolina blueberries traded at $14 per flats of 12 1-pint cups with lids.
Imports of fresh cultivated blueberries totaled more than $1.22 billion for 2021, up 24% from the previous year. By month, U.S. fresh blueberry imports are heaviest in November (19%) and December (13%) in terms of the percentage of the U.S. annual import total value, but blueberry imports that arrive every month of the year are relatively heavy in the January through April period. Those four months account for a combined 38% of the annual import value, according to the USDA.