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Berry deal continues to sweeten for Northwest producers

According to the Oregon Blueberry Commission, the state's producers are expected to harvest over 70 million pounds of the fruit this season. If reached, the volume will be another production record.

"Oregon growers routinely realize the highest crop yields per acre compared to any other state, an estimated 10,000 pounds per acre," the commission's website states. "Oregon farms range from large operations that ship their crop CropOverviewBlueberry producers in the Pacific Northwest have seen good values of production for their fresh berries. Values in 2011 increased significantly from the 2010 crop year. (Photo courtesy of Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic/Wikimedia Commons)to both national and international buyers to small family farms with less than 10 acres offering on-farm sales."

The Washington Blueberry Commission's website reports, "At the present time the majority of new acreage is being planted in Skagit and Whatcom counties. Much of that acreage is less than 10 years old so is not in full production." An estimate for the 2012 crop was not available.

Information compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided some snapshot information about blueberry production in Oregon and Washington during 2011 in its publication, Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2011 Preliminary Summary, released this past May. According to NASS, Oregon harvested 7,800 acres of blueberries with a value of production set at $73 million for the fresh market. This represented a significant increase in value when compared to $39.8 million in 2010. Washington harvested 7,000 acres of blueberries in 2011 with a value of production of $78 million for the fresh market. This was also a significant increase from $29 million in 2010.