People in the region will see more Georgia blueberries in their local market this summer than they did in the last two years. Growers suffered major losses in 2017 and 2018 due to the weather.
This year, sheds have been bustling for the past month as growers harvest and get blueberries packed for market. After two dismal, disastrous years, they’re thankful to have a crop to harvest.
Berries flow down the conveyor belt at Miles Blueberry Farm’s packing house when they would have trickled the past two seasons. Both years, late freezes killed most of the berries still developing on the bushes, but growers still had to go through the harvest process. “This year makes it more financially feasible for the farm to have a crop to work on, instead of 10% of a crop because you’ve got the same costs and work for 10% of a crop or 100% of a crop,” said blueberry farmer Allen Miles.
Miles says so far, the crop looks as good as some they had three or four years ago. Having a crop this year helps Allen and others have the capital to get ready for a season next year. He’s relieved to see the fruit load, and he’s not alone.
“It’s one thing to be excited about, because it’s a very high quality Georgia-grown blueberry this year,” said Gary Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture.
South Georgia is quickly becoming one of the country’s big blueberry producers. This two-year setback gave away some market momentum. Allen and others hope to take it back.