Leading berry company Naturipe Farms says good growing conditions throughout the U.S. have resulted in increased blueberry volumes, which are meeting rising consumer consumption trends and allowing for retail promotion opportunities.
Director of blueberry product management Mario Flores said with earlier harvests in the U.S. the group was “now seeing optimal quality and production from Florida & Georgia”.
“Northern Florida and South Georgia’s southern highbush blueberry production has reached peak daily harvest and has promotable volumes for the domestic season.”
He added that for the next two weeks, the southeast would have “good availability of quality, fresh blueberries.”
Now that the cool, wet weather is subsiding, “California production is gradually increasing. Albeit a bit later than last year, we expect volumes to ramp up the beginning of May and see the peak of harvest from the second week of May into the first week of June,” says Flores.
When asked about the effects of March frosts in Georgia, a Naturipe spokesperson said most of the damage affected the rabbiteye varieties which did suffer tremendous losses.
“As for the southern highbush varieties, a majority of our growers’ acres do have frost protection systems which allowed them to still have a strong, viable crop,” she said.
“The frost did reduce the southern highbush overall volume from pre-season forecasts and versus last year, however we do have a peak of harvest in the next 20 days that significant to make the industry aware of our notable volumes.”
With the increase in volumes, Naturipe is offering a variety of pack sizes, and suggests that retailers plan accordingly with promotions for the southeast these next three weeks and mid-May through June for California blueberries.