Chilean blueberry deal gets early start

10/12/2012 01:41:00 PM
Andy Nelson

“We’re running a week to ten days early,” Bocock said. “We should be rolling really good by the last week of December.”

New acreage, higher volumes

Volume should be up industrywide in 2012-13, thanks to new acreage, maturing bushes that are now producing more fruit and favorable growing conditions, Bocock said.

“They haven’t had any significant weather events,” he said. “We expect a good, solid crop.”

Volumes for all importers could be up 15% this season, but Naturipe expects an even bigger jump.

“We grow a lot faster than the industry,” Bocock said.

California Giant Inc., Watsonville, Calif., likely won’t begin receiving Chilean blueberries until early November, said Cindy Jewell, the company’s marketing director.

Early reports from Chile indicated good quality and ample supplies for the 2012-13 export season, Jewell said.

“They’re all optimistic that the fruit is there, the plants are healthy,” she said.

California Giant expects to ship more Chilean blueberries this year than last, Jewell said.

Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos. doesn’t expect significant volumes until about the first week of December, said Tom Richardson, general manager in the company’s Wenatchee, Wash., office.

“All the main growing areas are just coming out of winter,” Richardson said Sept. 27. “We’re just getting started in Argentina. The earliest the main (Chilean) areas will begin is mid- to late October.”

Giumarra expects its Chilean supplies to rise this season.


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