Fall 2013

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Marketing Program Expands

The Oregon Blueberry Commission’s robust and diverse marketing program continued advancing its proven marketing plans in 2013 and expanded into new arenas.

The Commission continued mailing media kits to select publications throughout the Western U.S. in an effort to encourage media coverage of the industry. Kits contain information on production acreage, total pounds harvested, sales and other facts and figures to facilitate reporting on the industry for newspaper, magazine and broadcast reporters. Kits also contain information on the health benefits of consuming blueberries, recipes and links to the Oregon Blueberry Commission website.

The Commission also this past year continued with its popular Ima Blueberry campaign. We added a second Ima Blueberry, but still had trouble meeting the demand for her appearances. The two Imas were incredibly busy from the end of June through August. Now that summer farmers’ markets are winding down, the Imas are participating in specialty programs with schools and community groups and in events, such as marathon runs, where they are a sought-after participant.
Leif Benson tends to Oregon blueberries at the Oregon Chef's Table during The Bite of Oregon

Our biggest new promotional campaign this year involved professional chefs and Oregon’s most popular food festival.

The Blueberry Commission, along with a handful of other Oregon commodity commissions, partnered with Pro Chefs Oregon to be featured at the Oregon Bounty Chef’s Table at The Bite of Oregon. Pro Chefs Oregon is a nonprofit chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

The Bite of Oregon, the state’s largest food festival, was held August 9-11 at Portland’s Waterfront Park.

In addition to blueberries, the table featured dishes with Oregon beef, seafood, potatoes, blackberries and raspberries.

Video of Pro Chefs Oregon at The Bite of Oregon.

Leif Benson, the retired executive chef from Timberline Lodge who has worked with the Oregon blueberry industry now for several years, was very active in helping coordinate our participation in the event. Leif also is working with the Commission on expanding use of blueberries in the state’s top culinary schools.

The Commission this past year continued to minimize purchases of paid advertising. But, based on past successes, the Commission did opt to purchase some spots on news websites of some of Oregon’s leading publications, including The Oregonian, Statesman Journal, the Bend Bulletin and the Medford Mail Tribune.

The Commission also this past year continued to offer blueberry farms that sell direct a variety of banners and point-of-purchase materials. The materials include brochures with recipes, background information on the industry and the Blueberry Commission website address.
Recognizing that 40 percent of the traffic to the website now comes from mobile devices, we have streamlined the website to be more user friendly for mobile devices. Like the media kits, the website is one-stop shopping for background on the industry. It includes recipes that we change regularly to give the site a fresh look.

Leif Benson cooking segment highlighting Oregon blueberries in a Blueberry Tabouli Salad on AM Northwest.

Leif Benson cooking segment highlighting Oregon blueberries on AM Northwest.

With the help of Leif Benson, we were also included in KATU’s celebrating Oregon agriculture program. Blueberries were spotlighted on two occasions on the Portland television station’s AM Northwest morning news show. People that go to the AM Northwest website to look for a recipe will find a link to the Oregon Blueberry Commission website. Blueberries also were highlighted this year in Edible Portland magazine.

Also this past year, the Commission embarked on a scholarship program. The commission is still working through the details on how it will work. Plans are to have it in place by the winter of 2014 so we can start encouraging students to apply.

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