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US Blueberries Enter Peak Harvest Season

June 25, 2024

This month marks the start of the peak harvest season for U.S. blueberries. This year, U.S. blueberry production has remained at the high levels observed in recent years, with ample supply on the market.

According to a forecast by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, this year’s U.S. blueberry harvest is expected to reach 704 million pounds (319,000 metric tons). Slight decreases in production in some states, including North Carolina, California and Florida, have thus far been offset by higher production in Georgia.

Exports of fresh U.S. blueberries to China began in 2021. These blueberries mainly originate from Washington and Oregon, the top two blueberry-producing states in the United States. In particular, blueberries from Oregon have now been consistently exported to China for three consecutive years.

This year, Oregon is benefiting from favorable climatic conditions for blueberry cultivation, with harvesting starting several days earlier than usual and expected to extend through to September. According to the USHBC, Oregon and Washington are together projected to produce over 320 million pounds (145,000 metric tons) of blueberries in 2024, accounting for 45.5% of total U.S. production.

The United States has traditionally been a major consumer of blueberries, with only about 5% of total production allocated for exports each year. In recent years, however, the USHBC has been focusing on boosting exports, with the goal of increasing the export volume to 10% of production by 2025. China, as an emerging market for blueberry consumption, has seen growing import demand, solidifying its position as a crucial overseas market for U.S. blueberries.

In May of this year, the USHBC received a $1.3 million subsidy from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Agricultural Promotion Program to expand the export channels for U.S. blueberries. Blueberry exports from the United States to China typically peak in July and August, with this year’s first shipment scheduled to arrive next month.

Images: Pagoda

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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