In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Washington blueberry season. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.
Washington has one of the longest blueberry seasons in North America; growers have a 5-month picking window, unlike any other region in the country. Washington continues its reign as the leading producer of blueberries in the country, followed by Oregon, Georgia and Michigan. Eastern Washington is early while Northwest Washington is late in the season that ranges from June through October. The state produces 40 percent fresh and 60 percent frozen, which can be enjoyed year round. This season, the Washington Blueberry Commision is projecting higher blueberry volumes owing to newer plantings coming on in some regions of the state.
According to research conducted by the Oregon State University, in Washington, production does not begin until early to mid-July, and the season finishes earlier than in Oregon. The fruit on each cultivar typically ripens over a period of 2 to 5 weeks.
The movement of blueberries through Oregon and Washington is expected to be about the same. Prices this season ranged from $36 per package in week 27 to $15.63 per package in week 32. Pricing this season is expected to be nominal, even as new volumes surge, although the data points available from the last couple of weeks already point to lower pricing compared to the previous season.
Consumers across Washington will now be able to find fresh blueberries at local grocery stores and markets. Many blueberry farms statewide are welcoming customers to come and pick their own blueberries. The Washington Blueberry Commission has kicked off promotional activities such as the annual Kids’ Recipe Contest between Aug 14 and 28 and kids aged 12-18 are invited to create their own recipes using Washington blueberries and submit them to the Washington Blueberry Commission.
All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.
Written by: Sarah Ilyas