“Chile is expected to begin early also, having a smooth transition,” Armstrong said.
Nolan Quinn, berry category director for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, said while markets weren’t where South American shippers wanted them to be in mid-September, he expected a good beginning to the season.
Demand for processed blueberries will influence how strong demand for fresh blueberries is, said Tom Richardson, general manager in the Wenatchee, Wash., office of Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos.
“The frozen market will be a factor this year in what goes fresh,” Richardson said. “Whenever there’s a strong market for processed, it tends to take volume out of fresh.”
While it’s still too soon to tell for sure, Richardson said 2012-13 could shape up to be a strong year for fresh.
“Some of the early information we’re hearing is that prices (for processed blueberries) are a bit lower than last year,” he said. “So, if you assume the crops are about the same size, you would expect more to go to the fresh market.”