Outstanding growing conditions have resulted in premium quality and plentiful supplies of organic California blueberries as production of this year’s crop begins.
According to Cherie France, Homegrown Organic Farms marketing manager, the overall outlook for this year’s crop is excellent. “We’re expecting to provide our customers with high quality organic berries with excellent flavor and sizing. We just started harvesting limited quantities, but early results are outstanding” she said. “Colder nights and late spring storms have slowed things a bit, but we’ve only seen strong quality and field conditions.”
Naturipe’s Kyla Oberman echoed those sentiments. , “Our outlook is very good and we’re expecting an increase in volume and availability. California organic harvest has begun and increasing as Naturipe’s Rocio variety starts picking up the pace, “she said.
France said overall demand is strong with Homegrown Organic Farm acreage in California and Oregon. “Demand is currently exceeding supply and we expect a strong program start and overall market outlook,” she said. “California organic blueberry production begins in late-April and continues through the beginning of July, with Oregon’s production slated to start in early-July and continue through Labor Day.
Naturipe’s Oberman said additional volume will provide retailers with promotable supplies of organic blueberries in May and June. “Demand for organics has been steadily increasing and retailers are doing their best to increase their displays and offerings to their customers.” Oberman said, “Volumes will definitely allow for large retail promotions.”
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council executive director, Mark Villata said “Last year an estimated 766 million pounds of highbush blueberries (conventional and organic) were produced in North America. This is an increase of 16 million pounds over an estimated 750 million pounds in 2015. It looks like volumes should be similar this year.”