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Bob Larson Washington Blueberries and the Trade War
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: September 24, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. International trade and tariffs are hot-button issues for many growers these days, but one group of producers, while wary, has yet to be impacted too much.

Washington Blueberry Commission executive director, Dr. Alan Schreiber says so far, so good …

SCHREIBER … “One country, Mexico, has put a tariff on blueberries. The United States sends about a million pounds of fresh and about a million pounds of processed blueberries into Mexico so it’s not a very big market for us and that’s not really a substantial market for Washington state. So, we have not yet felt a negative impact on trade or exports due to trade wars.”

Schreiber says that doesn’t mean it’s a matter they take lightly …

SCHREIBER … “But, it’s something that we are very concerned about because Washington exports more blueberries than any other state in the country.”

Schreiber says while production is up, what’s remarkable is that the demand for Washington blueberries continues to go up every year …

SCHREIBER … “Often when you have the kinds of surge in production that you have with a crop like blueberries you see some seriously depressed prices. But, it seems like every year people want more and more Washington blueberries and we’re in a sweet spot of where demand has been in balance with supply.”

Dr. Schreiber says yields this year ranged from average to above average and the quality was great until later in the season when they had a week-and-a-half stretch of 100-degree temps.

40% of our blueberries come from Eastern Washington, 40% from Whatcom County, 10% from Skagit County and 10% from other locations.

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