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Bob Larson Raspberry Outlook Pt 3
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: July 22, 2019

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With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. The raspberry industry in our state has few equals with a majority of the growers located in Whatcom county.

Washington Red Raspberry Commission Executive Director, Henry Bierlink says until recently, Washington was the nation's number one raspberry producer overall ...

BIERLINK ... "Let me be clear, we grow almost exclusively for the frozen market because we have a short season, high quality fruit, it goes into the freezer and is used predominantly in ingredients, or in IQF, blended packages and those kinds of things in stores."

But in recent years, Bierlink says the market, not production, has experienced the most change ...

BIERLINK ... "That's our weakest point right now. There's still a good market for certain types of berries, kind of premium berries from this area, but we've also have the luxury of being able to supply a good chunk of the domestic market from this area over the years, but that's changing pretty dramatically from imports from Eastern Europe and increasingly from Mexico which has been predominantly a fresh market area, but they're starting to move some fruit into the frozen market as well."

So now, he says California is the biggest producer ...

BIERLINK ... "But almost all their berries go to the fresh market throughout the year and ours are almost exclusively frozen market. So, there are two really very different markets. In the frozen market, we're clearly the number one. In raspberries total, California's got us beat now."

But, like most in ag, Bierlink says trade issues are also a major challenge

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