Following a colder, wetter year than the past two seasons, British Columbia’s 700 local blueberry growers are getting ready to start harvesting berries around the first week of July.
“Compared to the last couple of years, it might seem like the B.C. blueberry season is starting late this year. But what we’re expecting in 2017 is actually more in line with the timing of what a ‘normal’ harvest would be,” says BC Blueberry Council board chair Nancy Chong. While picking will start later than last year, a good supply of high-quality blueberries is expected with the season stretching through until mid-September.
The start of the 2017 blueberry harvest in B.C. is expected to be around four weeks later than the start of the 2016 season, when pickers in some areas were out in the field as early as the first week of June. Much colder temperatures and wetter winter and spring conditions have led to more work in the fields for growers, but made it harder to get out there and take care of tasks such as pruning. “Last October and November were a bit warmer than usual, but a lot wetter than average, and then in December, we experienced a drastic drop in temperature and high winds. All of these weather conditions resulted in follow-on effects through the winter and spring,” said Chong.
To drive demand for local blueberries in international markets, the British Columbia Blueberry Council continues to regularly attend key international trade shows such as Gulfood in Dubai, Anuga and Fruit Logistica in Germany, Foodex Japan, and Food & Hotel China.