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California starts wrapping up its blueberry season

As California prepares to leave the domestic blueberry marketplace, transition begins towards pulling blueberries from other parts of the U.S.

“There is an ample supply of blueberries right now. We’re between the California and the Pacific Northwest season,” says Jon Marthedal of Marthedal Farms in Fresno, Ca. “California’s production this year was probably not quite as large as what was anticipated. We had a pretty significant frost in March that impacted that.”

In California, Marthedal notes that the Delta growing area should produce good volumes for another week or so while the central and south valley regions and possibly the coastal areas start their wrap up this week. “And we have a hot weather forecast coming and heat is an enemy for blueberries so that will help California wind down more quickly,” says Marthedal.

Supply evened out
That said, competing with the southeast state suppliers—think Georgia and the Carolinas for blueberries—that level of supply worked in the favour of the marketplace. “We never had a real glut of blueberries so the supply of berries seems to be in pretty good balance with the demand right now,” says Marthedal.

The rate of demand overall for blueberries also seems to be levelling out as well. “Blueberry consumption has increased very dramatically in the last 15-20 years,” says Marthedal. “I believe it continues to increase but the pace has slowed. The health benefits that have come out are part of it but also having a constant supply in front of the consumer. Anytime something is available year-round, that helps consumption.”

Pricing slowdown
As the California season has gone on, prices have steadily dropped as per usual. “When we start harvest, the price is usually at its highest point,” says Marthedal. “As we increase volume through the season, it gradually declines and it’s been on a fairly steady decline week by week. I expect a bit of a bump though this week as the northwest production begins and California tails off.”

Following the start of the northwest supply season, Michigan and New Jersey states will also join to hit the peak summer season—late June through to August.

For more information:
Jon Marthedal
Marthedal Farms
Tel: +1 (559) 834-2844

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