Supplies of blueberries are lighter this month.
Domestically, Gerardo López of Produce Lovers says that there are still some supplies of berries from growing regions in the U.S. and Canada but those are being kept close to their origin because they don’t have the legs to travel.
As for Mexico, it officially started with blueberries the first week of September. “But there’s been availability since early August,” says López. “Those supplies are mainly kept for the domestic market in Mexico because it pays well compared to U.S. and Canadian prices. But as soon as fruit from Oregon and B.C. starts to have a problem in terms of quality, importers and retailers look to Mexico.”
He notes that while Mexican blueberry supplies are currently light, next week until mid-November increasing volumes will arrive. Overall Mexico continues to build on its blueberry production. “As farms mature and other farms come into production, there will be more from Mexico every year,” adds López .
Peru volumes arriving
Peru is also shipping blueberries currently and fruit is available in states such as Florida and Philadelphia. “The dominant growing region in the early season will be Peru and they have more volume this year,” López says.
Argentina also has some fruit available but it’s limited volumes.
As for demand, blueberries--like most berries--continues to grow in consumption with consumers. “Foodservice is also set to bounce back on blueberries. So we’re thinking that it will be a good year in terms of demand,” says López. “But it comes down to retailers and shippers planning well for sales to move the volume at the right time.”
That leaves September and October a good market in terms of pricing. “November to February is usually the lowest point in pricing because of the volumes of blueberries that come in from Peru and Chile. But if shippers and retailers do the right job to move the volume and promote the fruit when it’s needed, then it shouldn’t suffer. But we’re prepared for that,” López says. Currently pricing is similar or slightly higher than this time last year.
Looking ahead, the next few weeks will continue to see increasing volumes of blueberries from both Mexico and Peru, and to meet those volumes will be continuing healthy demand, says López.