From the time the Chilean imports are gone and before the harvest of blueberry fields in Georgia, there is a spot for Florida blueberries to make their mark. Scientists have worked with Florida farmers to make a blueberry that is ripe when the market holders in Chile and Georgia are not holding their spot in the produce department in most stores and local markets. Types of blueberries like the succulent high bush blueberry are designed to ripen when the market for blueberries are low.

Blue picks

Blueberry demand is impeccably high right now. So when varieties that bloom in winter are no longer in season or those that bloom in summer have yet to ripen, these spring time options of Emerald, Jewel, and Farthing blueberries are some of the berries that are in specific demand.

Last year the yield of Florida blueberries was too late, we were in competition with Georgia on the blueberry market and we lost the amount of money we would have made if the weather was more in our favor. Winter in Florida was too warm with few chill hours or days of hard freeze that would have helped the flowers bloom in time. This winter was also too warm, but it was warm enough that the flowers bloomed in time for them to be pollinated.

In an interview with Jeff Williamson with the Tampa Bay Times, the blueberry extension specialist for University Of Florida, said that when the weather pattern changes or the temperature is not warm enough for flowers to bloom on blueberry bushes, the crop yield is very low and often means that we arrive later than earlier in the market along with Georgia.

Berry-licious

Blueberries this year are going to be vast and available, about 20 million pounds worth of blueberries. The blueberry season started in March. According to blueberry farmer Alto Straughn picked 100,000 blueberries from his 750 acre farm. Alto also owns 230 acres of blueberries in Georgia, but those crops were damaged this winter by later freezes in the season.

“Last year everything was three to four weeks late,” he said to Tampa Bay Times.

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