Supplies of blackberries continue to be tight, though more product should be on the way in the coming weeks.
“The tight supplies are all due to the weather that Mexico has had for the past couple of months,” says Jose Andreu of Alpine Fresh based in Doral, Fl. “It’s been raining on and off lately. Most of September and the majority of October it was raining almost every day. It directly affects what we can produce and there’s been a very low pack out on what they’ve been able to harvest.”
Andreu estimates that production has been down by as much as 50 percent compared to where it usually is at this time of year.
While the majority of blackberries do come from Mexico right now, Guatemala is also shipping some product, though the volume is moderate and the berries have to be shipped by air.
And with strong demand for blackberries, the lack of supply has made for an equally strong market. “Last year around this time we were selling for between $10-$12 and today it’s anywhere from $16-$18 and some as high as $20. It’s been like this for the past month with demand exceeding supply,” says Andreu.
Looking ahead, a turnaround is coming, though Andreu notes that unfortunately the forecast calls for still more rain. “Production should bounce back in a few weeks. However December isn’t traditionally a big month for production. It’s usually on the tail end of the first crop and then it rebounds in March,” says Andreu.
Whatever relief does come, it’s likely to bring steadier pricing on increased production and better-quality product. “The price point will get more stable and then in December we have good demand for blackberries,” says Andreu.