Market Outlook: A Look Back … and Ahead
by Dave Brazelton, Owner, Fall Creek Farm and Nursery

Blueberry growers in all western states and British Columbia enjoyed record crops for both fresh and process berries in 2010. While fresh returns suffered in California due to compression of volumes into the mid-May to June window, overall fresh pricing the rest of the 2010 summer was reasonable, with strong returns to Oregon growers for the late season harvest. Process pricing recovered in the summer of 2010 from the disastrous 2009 season and, with a small low-bush crop coupled with very strong demand, has improved steadily throughout the winter. Currently, process prices are near record levels and availability from cold storage is extremely limited. The primary worry among sellers is buyer resistance to the high prices and limited availability.

So how does this history portend for Oregon growers in 2011? In general, the outlook for this year is favorable. The fundamentals for the blueberry industry remain extremely strong; new consumers, new products and a perfect position in the healthy and convenient categories. Fresh consumption continues to break records throughout North America and the world, even during these recessionary times. But fresh liquidations to growers are dependent on many factors, most importantly, the dynamics of supply/demand and quality in the marketplace at the time your fruit enters the market. Most marketers are optimistic that it will be a very good season, but it’s anyone’s guess what the conditions will be on any given day or week.

Available frozen product held in cold storage going into this season will be at very low levels and prices very high. Countering these positive factors will likely be continuing record production in the West and possibly throughout North America. The bearing surface is there, but as we like to say, “We always have a record crop just before bloom.” It should also be noted that very high process prices after the season and, in general, were not realized by Oregon growers. Buyer resistance to the near-record prices and a likely record North American crop could moderate processed returns. If things fall right, we could hit the sweet spot; fair returns for growers, packers and buyers, and fair prices for consumers. We can only hope that the pendulum doesn’t swing again in the opposite direction like it did two years ago.


Message from the Chairman

Spotted Wing Drosophila Update

Market Outlook:
A Look Back …
and Ahead

Bumbles and Blueberries

Organic Blueberry Production Research Project

Critical Program Needs Industry Support

Small Growers to Receive GAP Certification Aid

Oregon Fresh Season Promotion On a Roll for 2011

Bee Fees Jump a Bit

Smooth Move Increases Insulin Sensitivity

New Trap Hits
the Spots
(Spotted Wing Drosophila)

OSU Researcher Driving Blueberries up a Tree

USHBC Unveils New “Little Blue Dynamos” Positioning and Campaign for Highbush Blueberries

Watching World Acreage and
Production Grow

Specialty Crop Grant Supports Oregon Berry Festival;
Free Berry Vendor Space Available


Oregon Blueberry Commission • P.O. Box 3366 • Salem, Oregon 97302
Paid for by the Oregon Blueberry Commission, an agency of the State of Oregon.