This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
up front By Bryden Winsby

Mixed messages in national council votes T

his is turning out to be a somewhat memorable year for British Columbia's raspberry and blueberry industries. Not all the memories will be good though, given the rather surprising result of a vote to establish a national council for the latter.

Raspberry growers have given a similar idea the go-ahead, and, as our cover story explains, they are being given a chance to showcase their products and learn from the experience of other nations when the International Raspberry Organization holds its eighth world conference here in early June.

One might have expected results of the blueberry vote to have been a slam-dunk. After all, the arguments in favour seem quite compelling. The Canadian highbush blueberry industry — most of which is in this province — faces increasing competition, even as its own production numbers continue to climb. B.C. growers need to find new markets. Meanwhile, imported blueberries account for some 35-40 per cent of sales in this country, a market share that has risen sharply during the past couple of years. Proponents of the national council concept contend it would provide an opportunity to devise more effective strategies for both domestic and export sales, as well expand research activities. The council would be supported financially by a small per- pound levy applied to domestic and imported processed and fresh highbush blueberries.

So, what were the arguments against? Hard to say. A feeling that with the B.C. Blueberry Council already in place, a national organization would be redundant, since only about four percent of production comes from elsewhere in Canada? Grower disenchantment with the council? Or plain old apathy, with only about a quarter of eligible growers bothering to vote? Just how many “eligible” growers there actually were (or are) is something that needs to be determined, as Associate Editor Judie Steeves explains in her piece on the vote results.

4 British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2012

On the raspberry side of things, Judie got some insights from veteran grower Sukh Kahlon (who also produces blues and strawberries) on what the future should hold in terms of varieties that can face up to the

challenges of competition.

Elsewhere, you’ll find a piece on the assistance being made available for blueberry growers who still haven’t received food safety certification. And with the ever-increasing consumer demand for organically-grown produce, there’s a handbook available for strawberry growers who want to be part of meeting that demand. In the research department, we look

at the work of Elizabeth Elle, associate professor in biology at Simon Fraser University, and her students, who use electric toothbrushes and tiny paintbrushes in control plots as they examine the pollination deficit in highbush blueberries.

From bees to rodents, and still with blueberries, biologist Doug Ransome is working to find out just how destructive a little critter called

A glimpse at something called “life cycle assessment” is provided in our business management department. No, it’s not about how you can age gracefully, it’s about the importance of determining the environmental impact, or ‘footprint’, of a product. And with warmer weather approaching, we offer some tips on how farm operators can help themselves and their employees deal with the dangers of heat stress. Here’s to a warm and productive summer in which stress in all its forms can be managed successfully...

Townsend’s Vole is. Although present in blueberry fields, it has been found to prefer grasslands over cultivated areas, although mulch can provide it with agreeable cover. We’ve got updates on efforts to control several insect pests — Spotted Wing Drosophila, Cranberry Tipworm and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (which is not believed to be present in British Columbia, but has been confirmed in southern Washington and Oregon).

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24