Rain delays harvest, but growers expect good quality berries

05/04/2012 12:39:00 PM
Susie Cable

Curry & Co.’s California blueberry program might be as much as 30% larger this year because more acreage is coming into production, Curry said.

Curry & Co. sources most of its berries from California and Oregon. California crops are expected to be in production into June. Oregon crops should be producing from June into October, Curry said.

The company also sources berries from Washington and British Columbia.

Blueberry crops in the Pacific Northwest have had a good number of chill hours this spring, Curry said.

The bud sets looked good in April. Spring was slow to come this year, though, and Curry said the harvest start date could be in early July rather than the more typical late June.

“In the Northwest, we had a mild winter, but a cooler-than-usual spring is likely pushing our start date back a week or so,” he said.

A warm front still could move through and speed crop development.

The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, will market Ocean Spray-brand blueberries from British Columbia, said Nolan Quinn, berry category director.

In late April, Quinn said the crop looked like it might be running a week later than usual. Production might be up in the region, he said, but he was not sure how much of an increase there would be.

Red Blossom supplements its strawberry program with blueberries and blackberries. In April, it was marketing “big beautiful blueberries” from Oxnard, Calif., Deleissegues said.

She expected those to be shipping through May.

The company’s blueberries are grown under cover by a specialty grower.

Oppenheimer also will market summer blueberries from North Carolina and New Jersey under the Ocean Spray label.

Quinn said he’s optimistic that North Carolina’s production will be up slightly from last year’s. He expects a good crop with harvest expected to begin in early May — about a week to 10 days early. Temperatures in mid-April were higher than normal, Quinn said.

“It (warm weather) triggers plants, they think it’s time to go,” he said.

Oppenheimer expects a seamless transition from North Carolina to New Jersey for blueberry production.

Quinn said in April that he didn’t have much information on the New Jersey crop because it was too early in the season. Harvest there could start in mid-June, while North Carolina production is expected to continue into early July.

Red Blossom’s Mexican blackberry supply was steady in April and was expected to last until mid-June.



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