Weather was amajor reason why berries did well this year.
By Grant Ullyot
Strawberries - The first crop of strawberries to come off local fields was among the highest quality and best tasting ever grown in B.C. “They were fabulous,” says Sharmin Gamiet, manager of the BC Strawberry Growers Association. The weather was the main reason
why the berries grew so well. While the ever-bearing strawberries didn’t match other varieties because of the heat in June, they were of exceptional quality during the months of September and October simply because of cooler weather. Gamiet noted that the temperature modified from daytime highs in the high 20s and 30 down to the low 20s. At the time of this writing, info on
the overall yield and the prices for the strawberry crop had yet to be calculated.
Raspberries – The raspberry
crop did very well this past summer because of exceptional pollination. Gamiet, who is also executive director of the B.C.. Raspberry Industry Development Council, said there was good fruit set in the raspberry crop with good growth during both the ripening and harvesting periods. “We had high quality berries for
both the fresh and processing markets.” Gamiet believes the raspberry acreage held steady this year. And she noted with a measure of satisfaction that all of the processors came together and took in the entire crop designated for processing. The total acreage numbers and the annual price for the raspberries wasn’t available at this time. Blueberries —These also grew
very well this past summer. The size and taste of the berries, particularly the Duke variety, was incredible. Vines were overloaded on some farms, and most growers reported excellent, if not above-average pollination and good fruit set.
8 British Columbia Berry Grower • Winter 2014-15 The fresh market was well
supplied, and the ever expanding individually quick frozen (IQF) market processed the remainder of the crop. It’s expected the volume from this year’s harvest will be close to the record 150 million pounds set previously. Cranberries —This year’s cranberry harvest got off to a slow start in part due to late development of the color of the berries. The berries can range light pink to the traditional dark red and white. There are two cranberry receiving plants, one in Langley and one in Richmond “The color is good now, but it
was slow in early October,” said Brian Mauza, manager of the Ocean Spray plant in Langley. ‘We are expecting a crop slightly
less than last year when the total was 960,000 hundred-pound barrels. That adds up to 96 million pounds of cranberries,” says Mauza. “When we get a huge crop like we did last year it usually affects the following year’s crop and that’s why we are estimating a slightly lower volume this year.” Mauza said B.C. growers were expecting to harvest more than 6,000 acres of cranberries with 95 percent of the crop going to Ocean Spray’s receiving plants. “We clean the berries and grade
them, then send them off to a freezer here in Canada as well as some in Washington and Oregon in the U.S. We also supply the concentrate for juice to our bottling plant in Nevada.
A lot of the cranberries are processed as sweet and dried berries at the company’s plant in Washington and sold as a trademark product called Craisins. “We are a co-operative,” observed Mauza, “consisting of growers in Canada, the U.S., and Chile.” The cranberry industry is not expanding at present as there is an over-abundance of supply in the world market. The acreage in B.C. remains static. “We will be introducing some new products early next year,” noted Mauza. “You’ll just have to wait to find out what they are as all are still being test marketed.”
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