The Capital Press is an agricultural journal for the Western US. I search it from time to time to get blueberry crop information. Here's a latest Oregon blueberry assessment cap altered downward
SALEM - Faced with downward pressure on price from increased blueberry acreage, the Oregon Blueberry Commission has opted to lower the cap on blueberry assessments.
Oregon blueberry growers, beginning this summer, will pay no more than 1 percent of the value of their crop in assessments.
A list of Oregon blueberry farms is useful if you are in the area during the fresh berry season.
An April 2009 story from the Grand Rapids Press points to a continuing growth in frozen blueberries in storage, in part due to growth of crops in South America.
About 150 million tons of blueberries are now in storage nationwide, said Carlos Garcia Salazar, a small fruit specialist for Michigan State Extension Service's Ottawa County office. That's about double the normal amount for this time of year.
Fresh blueberry prices were above $2 per pound in 2007 and 2008, but this year they will be closer to $1.30 a pound. A pound of processed blueberries could drop from $1.63 to below $1.
"We had bonanza for three or four years," Salazar said. "But that's over.
"We believe that given our holdings and storage some are estimating prices similar to five or six years ago."
One possible direction for this surplus of blueberries is increased use as a dried fruit, in addition to fresh and frozen. The Kalamazoo Gazette writes about Graceland Fruit, which has innovated in creating cherry and blueberry "raisins"
"We're starting to see a very significant increase in dried blueberries," said Frank Bragg, chief executive of MBG Marketing, a multi-state blueberry cooperative based in Grand Junction, near South Haven.
"Today, 10 to 15 percent of processed blueberries are dried. That's up from about 5 percent two years ago."
A quarter of North America's blueberry crop comes from a four-county stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline between Grand Haven and the Indiana border.
In other news, we had blueberry pancakes for breakfast (yum).