Blueberry farmers brace for mega harvest after hot summer
Farmers expect to begin the blueberry harvest next week
Farmers in P.E.I. have a promising blueberry crop ahead of them as harvest approaches.
The crop has done well in the heat this summer, and that's good news for the Island’s approximately 200 growers.
Farmer David MacNearney, president of P.E.I.'s Wild Blueberry Growers association, says this year there’s a sizable yield of larger-than-usual berries.
MacNearney needs to get about 2,240 kilograms per hectare to make a profit and so far, his fields are promising to deliver.
He says he expects to see more blueberry fields in the years to come. He himself just invested $70,000 into a hi-tech harvester.
A growing industry
“There's a lot of potential, our yields continue to go up, there was a lot of land developed I'm going to say around 10 or 15 years ago and it's just coming into full production now,” he said.
Jasper Wyman & Son’s blueberry operation of P.E.I. recently doubled its capacity to process berries in Morell.
“That makes us optimistic,” said MacNearney. “Last year we were shut down a few days because they couldn't process the berries fast enough.”
The association is hoping for more research into managing pests such as fruit flies, which can threaten the crop.
John MacDonald, a blueberry grower since the '70s, agrees this year’s crop is a good one. He says the deep snow protected the plants through winter.
“There seem to be more berries riper this year than other years,” he said.
Farmers expect to begin the blueberry harvest next week.