Blueberry Growth Pt 2

Blueberry Growth Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Northwest blueberry production will be up again this year, a trend that’s been going on for over a decade.

Alan Schreiber, Executive Director at the Washington Blueberry Commission, says this boost in production has been growing across the state, including in Eastern Washington …

SCHREIBER … “You see most of the plantings, almost all have gone in recently are for organic production and the majority of that is for the processed market, although some for organic fresh.”

It’s a little different, Schreiber says In Western Washington …

SCHREIBER … “What we’re seeing is conventional blueberries going in that could be harvested by machine. Labor is a huge, huge concern us. Either, we can’t get enough workers or, with the index in minimum wage, labors being priced out of our ability to pay for it and so growers are looking for every chance they can to reduce the amount of labor they need and they’re planting some varieties that people believe can be picked by machine.”

Labor aside, Schreiber says Washington and Oregon are the top two states for blueberry production …

SCHREIBER … “Washington produces a few million pounds more than Oregon, but Oregon and Washington have very, very similar industries and I think are best thought of as one big collective group.”

And, Schreiber says British Columbia and California are both big blueberry regions…

SCHREIBER … “But, if you take the west coast, the west coast probably produces 60% of all the blueberries in the United States and Canada, so it’s increasingly producing along the west coast.”

Tune in tomorrow for more.

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