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Chilean blueberries lining up nicely for volume increases

On Nov. 15, or week 46 of the Chilean blueberry movement, the crop report issued by the Chilean Blueberry Committee, headquartered in Sonoma, CA, stated that the blueberry season was developing normally and without major weather issues affecting production. The report also indicated that more orchards in the country were being incorporated into the harvest to allow for higher export volume, resulting in a projection of greater shipments. It further stated that from week 48 onward, the projections were at over 3,500 tons weekly.

Blueberry-PieA deep-dish fresh Chilean blueberry pie. (Photos courtesy of the 2012 Chilean Fresh Fruit Association Media Center)Up to week 45, there were 648 tons of fresh blueberry exports, which is 26 percent higher than last season. During that week, about 270 tons were shipped, with volumes coming mainly from the northern region of the country.

However, the central and central-south regions of Chile were expecting a similar performance. The central-south region was showing more relevance on week 46, forecasting around 700-tons to be exported that week.

In the southern region, the temperature differential had been narrowing compared with previous weeks, but it still remained above the figure recorded last year at the same date.

On Thursday, Nov. 22, a crop report advisory was issued, stating that a change in the blueberry harvest dynamic in Chile had been observed that week. More fields had started harvesting throughout regions VI to VIII, although with low volumes. This was projected to change the following week — week 48 — when many fields would be in full harvest of the O’Neal variety and volumes were expected to increase.

The O’Neal blueberry ripens early and produces large, high-quality fruit of medium-blue color with good picking scar and flavor.

Harvesting in the central-south region commenced as in a normal season, although positive temperature accumulation differentials in regions VII and VIII were experienced when compared to last season. This situation is being monitored to assess the effect it will have on later harvesting varieties.

The Chilean Blueberry Committee promotes Chilean fruits in addition to blueberries, including cherries, citrus fruits, avocados, kiwifruit, prunes and walnuts.