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Plenty of berries available to meet high demand
“Supply of berries was inconsistent from mid-December to mid-January,” says Dominic Russo of Rocky Produce based in Detroit, Mi. “There have been some different weather patterns in Florida and increased production and decreased production to where there was no continuity to it.”
Strawberries are coming in via heavy production in Mexico while blueberries are coming from South America, largely via Peru and Chile. “There’s more production than I ever remember around this time of year in blueberries,” says Russo.
Rocky Produce has also seen a boost in quality this week. “There was some cold weather and rain and it seemed like the berries this week were holding a little water,” Russo says. “Quality has improved greatly though as the weather has improved and we’re expecting things to remain in good shape going forward.”
Demand meanwhile continues to grow for berries. “Demand is stronger and stronger every year. We don’t see any signs of weakness in it at all,” says Russo, who distributes throughout the Midwest, as far as the MidAtlantic, across Michigan and into Ontario, Canada.
Meanwhile pricing right now is relatively average. “The best deals right now are on blueberries and blackberries. There are always big fluctuations in pricing on berries. It’s such a high-volume item. Demand is always high so it’s just balancing out the supply and demand,” he says. “But the last couple of years berries have been higher priced and this year is no different.”
Looking ahead, Russo anticipates a boost in domestic strawberries. “We’re heading into the middle of winter so Florida strawberries should be in heavy production as long as their weather cooperates,” Russo says.
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