High blueberry volume coming in May - The Packer

High blueberry volume coming in May

05/09/2014 10:06:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Courtesy Georgia Blueberry CommissionBlueberries are harvested at a field in Georgia. Georgia should begin blueberry volume in May since Florida’s harvesting is running later than normal.

Georgia blueberries began production in late April and early May.

Growers began light harvesting in late April and are expected to hit promotable volume in early May, overlapping with Florida production which should run through late May, said Mario Flores, director of blueberry product management for Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farms LLC.

“Georgia has a beautiful crop,” Flores said in late April. “The Georgia southern highbush crop is one of the better ones we’ve seen in years. Growers say the crop has a nice fruit set and things are developing well.”

Still, the deal is running two weeks behind its normal mid- to late April start.

Flores said he expects to see high volume of fruit in early May and said the state this season could produce a record crop.

Normally, the earlier southern highbush deal is separated from the later rabbiteye deal, which typically begins in late May and runs through early July, through a large valley.

This year, however, Flores said he expects the two deals to overlap, producing promotable volume throughout the deal.

He said this year’s later-starting rabbiteye crop should also help retailers on the front end of Fourth of July promotions, a role usually played by New Jersey.

After beginning production in earnest in early May, Georgia southern highbush production should peak in mid-May, said Teddy Koukoulis, director of blueberry operations for Plant City, Fla.-based Wish Farms.

The transition from Florida to Georgia should be smooth and north Florida should finish production in late May, about two weeks later than normal, he said.

“Supplies should be steady and quality should be very high,” Koukoulis said in late April. “Georgia is increasing in volume from last year but there won’t be an overabundance. We should see a lot of Memorial Day ad sales this year.”



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