There are plenty of blueberries on hand in supermarkets nationwide as summer winds down.
Michigan, Washington, Oregon and Canada currently are shipping blueberries, New Jersey is finishing its program and Peru will be kicking off its blueberry deal soon, said Joe Vargas, director of business intelligence for the Folsom, Calif.-based U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
“Growing conditions have been favorable in most regions,” he said. “There has been a bit of a drought that could affect sizing in Michigan and surrounding states.”
There also was lower pollination than originally anticipated in the West, but Vargas still expected “a very nice crop overall with good quality and sizing.”
The North American Blueberry Council’s 2023 U.S. Domestic Crop Report estimated before the season began that just over 700 million pounds of highbush blueberries would be produced by the U.S. Last year’s production was about 614.3 million pounds, according to the USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service.
Of that, 53% was shipped as fresh, and 47% was shipped as processed.
There were 77.6 million pounds shipped domestically as wild blueberries or lowbush blueberries.
Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farms LLC says its blueberry volume should peak in July.
“We are expecting a robust peak of Naturipe blueberries between our multiple growing regions,” said Brian Bocock, vice president of product management. “We are seeing a fantastic blueberry crop from all of our growers — from New Jersey, Michigan and expecting the same from the Pacific Northwest right into the fall.”
The blueberry industry is evolving with new varieties “that deliver better flavor, size, taste, texture and shelf life,” he added.
Naturipe growers have made significant investments in private breeding programs to grow better-tasting, firmer and more flavorful berries, said Fernando Aguiar, director of business development at Naturipe.
“We can’t wait for consumers to try our newest blueberry varieties this summer,” he said.
Domestic blueberry production and imports have combined to create a year-round blueberry supply that is supported by marketing efforts from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, blueberry marketers and retailers, Vargas said.
“Volumes continue to grow each year, making them more available for ad placement,” he said.