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Oregon blueberry acreage rises with demand

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8/3/2008, 8:54 a.m. EDT

The Associated Press

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Increased worldwide demand for blueberries has led Oregon farmers to increase their acreage planted with the popular fruit believed to have some health benefits for its antioxidant properties.

“The demand for blueberries is unprecedented, and the response to that is to put more acres in,” Oregon Blueberry Commission administrator Brian Ostlund said Friday.

Despite a cool spring and poor pollination, Oregon’s blueberry producers remain on target to harvest somewhere between 46 million and 47 million pounds of fruit this year, breaking the 2007 record of 44.7 million pounds.

The projected harvest will make Oregon the second- or third-highest producing blueberry state, behind Michigan with 65 million pounds, and in a dead heat with New Jersey.


Worldwide blueberry acreage has more than doubled in the past decade, from 62,800 acres in 1997 to 144,800 acres last year, according to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

Most of that growth was in the Western Hemisphere, with 50,200 additional acres in South America and 32,000 more acres in North America.

In 2007, Oregon farmers harvested 5,600 acres of blueberries — more than double the state’s acreage just seven years earlier. Last year’s crop was valued at $65 million, making it the state’s 12th most valuable agricultural commodity.

Ostlund said this year’s market for fresh blueberries is strong, and prices have held up well.

The market for this summer’s processed berries has not yet developed because frozen berries tend not to begin selling until after the fresh berry season is over — but demand is expected to remain high.

© 2008 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

agosto 6, 2008 - Posted by | Arandanos, Comercializacion

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