by Anura Guruge
Click to ENLARGE. This is a Google Map (Satellite view) of the hill I live on — with 3 BIG wild blueberry farms.
Click to access ‘Boston.com’ original from last Fall. Still v. applicable.
No. Nope — there is no shortage per se. Actually we are in the midst of a global GLUT of blueberries. Chile, Canada, Mexico and Peru are POURING in ‘cheap’ blueberries into the U.S.
This has resulted in blueberry prices going down since 2017. Good for the consumer.
Not good for growers, especially those in New England — New Hampshire, of course, among those hit. Plus, in New England it is wild blueberries, that grow close to the ground, as opposed to the ‘Highbush’ grown further down. Highbush is called cultivated. Wild blueberries have more antioxidants, tend to be bluer and tastier. But, they are hard to pick. That adds to their cost.
I live on the side of a hill — and in reality it should be called ‘Blueberry Hill’. We have three large wild blueberry farms on it. I run/walk by them most days.
Last year I heard rumblings that the owners of these farms were not happy. They were not making the kind of money they were used to. I then heard that a Maine company that ran one of the farms, on behalf of the owner, had pulled out. It was not economical to run the farm!
Yesterday, on my walk, I got to talk to one of the owners. He told me that the issue was the prices: ‘way down’. They are basically at break even and their cost is lower than mosts and they also sell at local farm markets where they can get retail as opposed to wholesale pricing. He was not happy. He reckons that Canada is dumping blueberries into the U.S. market.
Not good. I like having these farms around. They bring in bees to pollinate the plants. Watching that is fun.
So, this is a heads up since many people don’t appreciate what is happening. All they notice is that blueberries are plentiful at the supermarkets and that they are at a good price.
But, this, alas, is at the expense of New England farmers.
Check Category ‘New Hampshire‘.
by Anura Guruge