Canada: British Columbia's blueberry season finishing in style

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Canada: British Columbia's blueberry season finishing in style

Significant volumes of British Columbian blueberries should be off the shelves by the end of the third week of October, in what growers have described as a season with ideal weather.

Wholesale and retail producer and distributor Driediger Farms, which packs for 80 growers in British Columbia, estimated volumes were up by 15% this season.

Owner Rhonda Driediger said she expected British Columbian blueberries to reach 100 million lbs by the time harvesting finishes with Liberty and Aurora in early October.

"It's been the biggest year ever for the industry - although more of the older varieties are down a bit there are many new varieties taking up the slack."

She said a high volume of new plantings over the last six years had more than compensated for the fact yields were down slightly with older trees.

"The weather has been close to perfect, especially for the back end of the season. We had a long pollination on the early varieties and an average to normal one with the mid-season types such as Bluecrop."

Driediger said there was some rain at the end of July and the first weekend of August was extremely hot but nothing to cause concern.

M&M Pacific Coast Farms owner Paul Gill, agreed the weather had been excellent.

"The weather during harvest season was ideal. It has been nice and warm and dry but not too hot. We couldn't have asked for better weather."

He said picking on his farm would finish at the end of this month, unlike last year's season which continued until the end of October to early November.

Gill said last year instead of starting in early July, the season started at the end of July due to a wet spring in April through to June. Prices for British Columbia's blueberries were high because of Michigan state's reduced crop due to freezing weather in January and and February.

Driediger said prices paid to growers this season were 20% down on the previous year at US$1.10-1.50 per lb compared with US$1.45-1.75 per lb in 2011.

Prices paid to farmers for processing are currently 80-90 cents per lb compared with US$1.45 per lb last year.

Related stories: Early ripening for Argentine blueberry season

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