The blueberry season has just started in some regions of Quebec that already it is to forget for most producers that will deliver this year about 50% of their normal harvest.
“Some farmers who had never had gel are left with 80% losses,” says Laurier Lussier, president of the association of farmers in the Bleuets Vallée-du-Haut-Saint-Laurent, which produces cultivated blueberry. The price of the first fruits on the market is already on the rise. “It’s unfortunate, but it should be adjusted according to supply,” drops the producer.
The province was entitled to a disastrous weather cocktail blueberry production this year, whether wild fruit or its cultivated variety, highbush blueberry. The mercury dropped below -25 ° C for several days in January and February. Unfortunately, for lack of snow, the plants were not protected. At best, buds froze; at worst, freezing attacked the roots, so the plant is lost.
The figures blueberry industry
pounds of blueberries produced last year in North America, two-thirds being cultivated blueberries (highbush).
Production has doubled in the last decade.
pounds of blueberries produced in 2014 in Quebec, including 77 million pounds of wild blueberries.
blueberry producers, including 500 wild blueberries.
Quebec blueberries are for the Quebec market. The remaining 85% are exported to thirty countries.
Quebec is the largest producer of wild blueberries province, with 40% of production, but it produces only 2% of the highbush blueberry for the whole country.
It will be a second blow in three seasons. The year 2013 was also completed on a very bad track record in Quebec, but for a different reason weather: frost in June.
Of course, all eyes are on the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, which produces 80% of Quebec wild blueberries. The season will begin only in mid-August, but the forecasts are very bad. “Overall, the yields of blueberry ahead strongly below average,” said La Financière agricole for the region.
The Director General of the Union of Quebec blueberry producer, Gervais Laprise, estimates the loss to 50% of production for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Wild Blueberry The price will be set a week before the start of the harvest.
Yields are very different depending on the topography of blueberry and windbreaks, explains Yves Lefebvre, Regional Director of Alma service center for Financial.
The only good news in the seasonal forecast, which survived the buds produce excellent fruit. “The conditions of the rest of the year have been very good,” says Gervais Laprise.
The north spared
Producers in areas further north were more fortunate. He had fallen enough snow to protect the plants when the cold of the early major arrived, said Daniel Harvey, president of the North Shore Blueberry Growers Association. The region has about fifty blueberry growers, all wild fruits. And what are the “best of Quebec,” says Mr. Harvey.
Consumers will be able to judge for themselves in three weeks: the first blueberry North Shore, those of Sacred Heart, are expected to hit the market around August 7.