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Importers look to Mexico for improvements in blackberry qualityWhile improvements are being made on blackberries from Mexico in terms of varieties, there’s a hope that work around quality issues and farming also be improved.
“According to UN Comtrade data, since 2013, Mexico’s shipments abroad of blackberries have almost doubled. But the nation still has a way to go in securing best practices for demanding international markets,” says Franco Maggiore with Thomas Fruits et Legumes in Montreal, Canada. “Blackberries are definitely an attractive business. But there’s a large surface in certain areas that needs to be replaced in Mexico. Some of the plantations in Mexico are very old and have a lot of issues with quality.”
Maggiore goes on to add that the market is evolving right now—in part to improve flavor and shelf-life—and is hopefully also moving towards improving quality issues around the berries. “I’m hoping primocane fruiting and certain flavor characteristics with firmness for the near future will improve,” says Maggiore, who adds that approximately 75 percent of the retail market is imported from Mexico between October-June. “Mexico is refining their techniques so that in a few years be able to do all the propagation,” Maggiore adds.
More and more plantings
At the same time, acreage continues to build in the country. “They’re building up acreage in Sonora and in Chihuahua, but over 70 percent grows between Michoacán, Guanajuato and Jalisco,” says Maggiore.
For now though, as Mexico reaches the end of its season, blackberry supplies are steady and the industry is getting ready for California and North Carolina to begin with their supplies as well. Supplies overall look to be on par with last year’s levels.
And while pricing is average and slightly stronger compared to around last year at this time—prices range from $9.50-$12 on 6 oz. clamshells—Maggiore does see demand increase every year for the berry.
For more information:
CPS/Canada Produce Source Fruits & Legumes
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