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Washington 2017 raspberry crop down from previous year

This season’s commercial red raspberry harvest in Washington is wrapping up on a mixed note. Following a 2016 bumper crop of 75 million pounds in the county, production volumes from last year were a tough act to follow.

Harvesting got off to a good start right around the beginning of July, growers said then.

As usual, the first high-quality berries of the season were going to IQF (individual quick frozen) processing at his Berry Acres operation, grower Frank DeVries said.

In regard to price, the strength of the American dollar may be a factor working against a good price globally, he noted.

Each year in the berry growing business, it’s an interplay of volume, quality and price in determining whether it all pencils out to success.

After a very wet 2017 spring set back the plants’ fruit set, the local weather warmed and dried out starting in mid-May. Moderate rain fell in June, but by early July DeVries was saying the crop could use some rain. Six-tenths of an inch came July 20-22.

Whatcom is now also the top blueberry producing county in Washington, at about 52 million pounds a year, according to the Washington Blueberry Commission.

Production has been on a steep climb across the state. From 18.4 million pounds in 2006 it soared to 120 million pounds last year, and 2017 was expected to add 10 million more pounds — at least when a forecast was put out in June.

The total value of the crop is estimated to exceed $150 million, with about 70 percent of Washington blueberries going for processing and 30 percent for fresh consumption.

Source: lyndentribune.com

Publication date: 8/10/2017


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