“The blueberries look really good and we have had nothing negative happen to the crop so far,” Braswell said in mid-February. “Everything looks good at this point.”
Braswell said he expects Florida production to peak during the second and third weeks of April, just as Georgia’s southern highbush crop ramps up.
Some harsh cold weather struck Georgia production regions, said Teddy Koukoulis, director of blueberry operations for Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla.
“There was some ice and snow in some locations,” he said in mid-February. “There wasn’t any significant damage. The bushes weren’t at a stage where they were flowering or anything like that, which could really hurt them.”
North Carolina typically begins production in mid-May with production peaking around Memorial Day through June 10.
Growers report acreage increasing, Bocock said.
Julie Woodcock, executive director of the North Carolina Blueberry Council Inc., in Atkinson, said the last official number the council has seen is more than 6,000 acres.
She said she knows of several farms that plan to start producing within 18 months.
At the beginning of the domestic blueberry season, the Southeast is a key part of the deal, said Stacy Spivey, North American berry program director for Alpine Fresh in Miami.
“There is a lot of high-quality fruit and nice volumes that come out of the Southeast,” he said. “The domestic season relies on the Southeast to get started on the right foot.”