Uncle Matt’s boosts organic blueberry production

04/06/2011 04:16:44 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

A leading Florida organic citrus grower-shipper is expanding its blueberry deal.



Uncle Matt’s Organic Inc. has nearly tripled its acreage from the 7 acres it had last year to more than 20 acres for this season. Annemarie McLean, who handles public relations for the Clermont, Fla.-based operation, declined to state projected season volume but said Uncle Matt’s has seen strong interest from its growers.

“We have gone from two to six growers,” she said. “We are expecting a real good organic blueberry crop.”

Uncle Matt’s blueberry growers have production in Polk County, the big central Florida producing region, Lake County west of Orlando, Fla., Hardee County near Wauchula, Fla., and in Highlands County near Sebring, Fla.

“We’re excited about the addition of more small family organic growers and increased volume this year,” Matt McLean, founder and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “This year’s bloom looks better than last year due to the cold winter weather we had in central Florida. While it wasn't good for our citrus, it was good for the dormant blueberries. The result is a good bloom and good-sized crop that will be harvested on time.”

Uncle Matt’s is packing its organic blueberries in 6-ounce clamshells that come 12 to a flat and 240 flats per pallet. It suggests a $3.99-4.99 suggested retail price. Uncle Matt’s is marketing the blueberries to supermarket chains such as Kroger Co., Cincinnati, Publix Super Markets Inc., Lakeland, Fla., and Whole Foods Market Inc., Austin, Texas.

Uncle Matt’s began harvesting in early April and plans to finish by late May.



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