(THE NEWS files) A record blueberry crop is predicted.

Record blueberry harvest predicted

Conditions have been perfect for growers in Fraser Valley

This summer is bringing in what should be a record crop of blueberries.

The harvest is expected to return to the record levels of 2016, when 172 million pounds of the Fraser Valley’s most popular crop was harvested by B.C. growers – most of them based in the Lower Mainland.

“And it could be more than that,” said Anju Gill, with the Abbotsford-based B.C. Blueberry Council.

She bases her optimism on conversations with growers and said early indications are good. But predicting the crop is like trying to forecast the weather.

The great harvest of 2016 was followed by a drop to 135 million pounds the next year, as a summertime drought blighted the crops.

Last year bounced back with returns of 160 million pounds.

A wet July let to some softening of the fruit, said Gill, but recent sunshine is a great sign for the varieties now being picked, and will also benefit later varieties, which will start to be picked in the next 10 days.

Cam Watt, sales manager for Pacific Canadian Fruit Packers in Pitt Meadows said conditions have been perfect, from a mild winter, to a spring that saw good pollination by bees, and now a summer with the right mix of rain and sunshine.

“It’s a record year for sure,” predicts Watt. “For our industry, it has been perfect.”

As much as volumes have been high, the quality of fruit has also been good with the early varieties of Duke berries. The same has held true for the mid-season varieties like Liberty and Aurora, he said, which are just finishing. The blueberry harvest will finish up with Elliott the primary variety, and it is being picked now in some fields.

Watt explained that because blueberries have been such a success story, many farmers are converting their fields to this crop in B.C., so there is still room for yields to continue to grow as more fields become productive.

Blueberries are individually frozen and shipped all over Asia, New Zealand and Australia, he said. Although the council works to open new markets for the “super food” it promotes, most of the export market still goes to the U.S.

Canada is the world’s second-largest producer of high bush blueberries, and 96 per cent comes from some 800 growers in B.C.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vice pres of Pitt Meadows Plumbing honoured at awards of excellence

Vancouver Regional Construction Association awarded Matthew Robinson Best Under 40

Traffic bylaw change gets final OK

Maple Ridge follows rest of B.C., not allowing biking on sidewalks

Non-profit Showcase at the ACT in Maple Ridge

A chance to see what work local non-profits do in the community

City buys land for park next to school

Maple Ridge acquires five acres on 108th Avenue

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Most Read