Blueberry pickers make fast cash in Sudbury
Vendors frequently buy berries from pickers to sell them to an eager southern Ontario market
Posted: Jul 10, 2012 1:32 PM ET
Last Updated: Jul 10, 2012 3:55 PM ET
This year's blueberry season is underway and that means side-of-the-road berry vendors are back.
The people who park these trucks and cars along northern Ontario highways don't just sell berries, however — they buy them too.
Mirjana Vrbanac, who works at the Canadian Wild Fruit stand on the side of Skead Road, said the price they'll pay for blueberries is determined around the basic principles of supply and demand.
“Right now we're paying $7.50 a quart [but] we started at $10,” she said.
“It's going down … it could go back up. It just depends on the quality of the berries and how much we're selling them for where we bring them after.”
The berries are often sent to southern Ontario, where people snap them up — often paying upwards of $40 per three quart basket.
'Better than minimum wage'
On a good day, she sees more than 60 blueberry pickers and a couple of thousand dollars can be paid out, Vrabnac said.
Longtime blueberry picker Renford Blake said the vendors are convenient and provide cash fast.
"We'd have to sit at the road there and I don't have time for that,” he said. “So [if] you need a quick bit of money, well, we have [berries].”
Vrabnac agreed that, when blueberries are in season, it’s prime time to make some money.
“We have 11 quart baskets — they're the big ones,” she said.
“If you pick a couple of those a day, you can make a couple hundred dollars. It's better than minimum wage. I didn't know you could make this much money selling your blueberries.”
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