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Volume of Chile's Christmas blueberries below forecast

by Tad Thompson | December 06, 2009
Chilean blueberry volume "is less than forecast, but there will still be plenty of fruit around the marketplace for Christmas," according to Joe Barsi, vice president of business development for California Giant in Watsonville, CA.

Mr. Barsi told The Produce News Dec. 2 that Chilean blueberry fields "had some colder weather this year, so the harvest is two to three weeks behind schedule. Everyone is getting fruit now," but Chilean year-to-date blueberry volume was 51 percent below volume in the fall of 2008.

"The crop is delayed. People thought we would have promotional volume in weeks 51 and 52, but it will be in weeks 1 and 2," Mr. Barsi told The Produce News. "There will be promotional volumes in January."

Starting the week of Nov. 23, heightened Chilean blueberry volume began to go onto ships after being shipped in small airfreight volumes over a couple of weeks prior to that. The ships take 14-16 days to arrive in the United States, Mr. Barsi said.

Mr. Barsi said that the Chilean Blueberry Committee originally forecast that Chile's 2009-10 blueberry crop would be up 35 percent from 2008-09. "But now the CBC revised that to be a 25 percent volume increase compared to last year," he said. "The fruit quality has been excellent. It is very consistent, with good color and good size. Promotional volumes will be available after the first of the year."