( Courtesy Wish Farms )

Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla., is gearing up for the domestic blackberry season, anticipating a positive shift in demand and pricing as production ramps up.

Georgia’s blackberry crop will be shipping by the end of May, followed North Carolina and California in June, according to a news release from Wish Farms. The company has added growers, along with expanded production for its existing grower base in the southeast region.

“Mexico is getting ready to wind down the season and will most probably do so by the end of May,” Jose Saca, director of caneberries, said in the release. “But the domestic season starts about the end of May so it should be a good transition.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted berry demand in March and April, resulting in a challenging season for the Mexican blackberry industry, according to the release. But as cities ease restrictions, Wish Farms anticipates a more consistent demand and more traffic in stores and foodservice establishments.

“Our expectation is that consumers will come out of the stay-at-home hibernation craving fresh fruits and vegetables,” Saca said in the release. “Retailers are starting to see the demand for the fruit go up and blackberries are a key part of their berry program.” 

The company’s peak volume will be in early to mid-June.

New labels feature a pink gingham pattern and Wish Farms’ “Feel Good. Eat Berries. Make a Difference” tagline. The company’s app uses augmented reality to bring the label to life, and Wish Farms will donate a meal “to those in the community who need it most,” according to the release.

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