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Blueberry crops in British Columbia & Michigan have catching up to do

Southeast blueberry growers have had a rocky season thus far; May and early June have been less than stellar, but things are anticipated to improve. North Bay Produce is concentrating on their Michigan and British Columbia northern highbush blueberries currently. 

Crop estimates are to be released June 15. Ryan Lockman has his own idea of what the numbers will indicate. “I would say that Michigan will have at least what it did last year and probably certain percentage above and British Columbia will have at least what it had last year, maybe more, due to maturing acreage.” 

According to a small fruit update released June 6, west central Michigan’s dry weather period recently “could be a problem for crops like strawberries and blueberries that are in the green fruit stage.” Also Elliott-variety blueberry bushes were affected by spring frosts. 

More aggressive pricing expected
Prices for North Bay Produce’s blues have been up and down in May and June because Lockman says availability has been low courtesy of the frost in March. “Prices should get more aggressive as we get into New Jersey and even more aggressive as we get into Michigan and British Columbia.” Lockman also stated that growers are expecting good consumption on summer blueberries after a “sub par” May and June. “I think there’s going to be good quality and good volume within the industry which should yield to good consumption and we’re hoping that we stay nice and cool for good quality.” 

Plans for adequate amount of workers
Of course, labor often has a hovering question mark but Lockman notes that the industry has plans for adequate workers. “The next step is making sure that everybody shows up,” he indicated. Plans are in place for enough labor. “Everything else is winding down right now as far as our Mexican and import programs,” he said. They’re also in the middle of Georgia and South Carolina blackberry season with North Carolina beginning between June 20 – 25th. “Everything’s going very good. (There were) some challenge this past week with rain but everything’s looking good now and going forward. Quality and size is very good right now.” 

For more information:
Ryan Lockman
North Bay Produce
Ph: 800-678-1941

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