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Better blueberries ahead for Michigan

Overview of the Michigan blueberry season by Sharon Robb North Bay Produce, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in on June 18, 2021 

Looking ahead at Michigan’s upcoming blueberry season, reports are that the crop looks good for the 2021 season.

“We expect a better crop of blueberries than what we saw last year,” says Ryan Lockman, VP of sales and procurement at North Bay Produce based in Traverse City, MI.

Volumes (in Kg) of blueberries from Michigan in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“The crop will be larger than the 2020 crop. It’s too early to tell about quality and size as we’re not there yet. But all indications right now show normal sizing and quality.”

The timing of the crop looks to be similar to historical starts to the season--in Michigan’s case, it’s approximately mid-July and the season ends mid-September. Also in production at that time will be New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada.

Origins (volumes in Kg) of blueberries in the US Market in 2020
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Solid domestic demand

As for demand, Lockman believes it should be good. “Demand has been very good since the start of the domestic production season back in March and we’re hoping that continues into the summer months,” he says. For North Bay, what could help its demand is the top-seal option it’s offering on its 12x1 pint, 12x18 oz, 12x24 oz and 12x2# size profiles.

Lockman also anticipates pricing to look similar to 2020’s prices. “We have seen higher process demand over the past year which should provide a good basis for the fresh market sales,” he says.

Price (in USD) of blueberries from Michigan in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

One factor that could also work its way into pricing is--as growers all across the country are noting--increasing costs within the supply chain. “All costs within the supply chain are increasing except for the net return to the grower which has gone down due to the increasing costs everywhere else,” adds Lockman.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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