Blueberry supplies are light currently.
“The supply of blueberries from Mexico is lighter than originally forecast due to tight labor supply and weather issues. The import season is starting off light due to the delays at the ports,” says Alan Ediger, vice-president of sales for California Giant Berry Farms based in Watsonville, CA. Ediger notes that supplies are also lighter than last year at this time.
Currently product for California Giant comes from Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay and Peru. The latter three countries are in the midst of their peak of harvest production, adds Ediger.
Meanwhile demand continues to be good for the berry. “Overall blueberry consumption continues to grow. More and more Americans realize the nutritional benefits of blueberries, not to mention their great taste,” says Ediger, noting that pricing on blueberries is coming down compared to a few weeks ago.
But challenges remain in moving the fruit. Not only does a lack of labor continue to be an issue for growers and shippers, as the new import season begins, logistics issues also continue to be a concern. “The port delays in Southern California have made receiving our product on time challenging. This has a trickle-down effect as it relates to aging product, delayed and missed deliveries,” says Ediger.
However as the significant amount of South American product that’s anticipated continues to get unloaded, volumes of blueberries should come up again.