Canada: BC blueberry harvest wraps up

As British Columbia blueberry growers enter the last days of this year's harvest, they're reflecting on a season that brought challenges during the heart of picking. An abundance of berries in July brought prices down, and rains during the middle part of the season affected quality.

“A couple of things stand out,” noted Davinder Punia with A&P Fruit Growers in Abbotsford, British Columbia. “The season was flooded with Bluecrop variety during the middle of the season, and, at the same time, we got rains in July that affected quality and made for some soft berries.” 

Those two things contributed to lagging sales. Prices started in the $12.00 to $14.00 range for a flat of 12 pints in late June, but the market got into the $8.00 to $12.00 range in mid July. Prices have improved since the lowpoint in July, and as recently as August 30, prices were between $22.00 and $28.00 for a flat of berries coming into the U.S. from British Columbia through Northwest Washington.

This was the first season that British Columbia's growers had access to the Chinese market. Punia said that not many growers who work with A&P showed interest in shipping to China this season, though that may change in the future.

“Growers wishing to export to China had to register with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, pay third parties for pest monitoring and inspections, and follow certain procedures; it was a long process, and only two of our growers went through it, though, in the end, they didn't send anything,” he said. “Berry volumes this season were 10 to 15 percent lower than last year, so there wasn't much to send. But we may send to China in the future if our growers want it.”

For more information:
Davinder Punia
A&P Fruit Growers
+1 604 864 4900

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