Sudbury blueberry pickers cash in on crops
Best money to be made selling berries on the side of the highways, some say
There are plenty of people trying to make a buck off the wild blueberries currently coming to fruition around Sudbury.
Jordan Viney is among them and just set up an ad on Kijiji offering to pick berries for a price.
The Sudbury student said she was thrilled to get an order for three 11-quart baskets, worth $300. Viney said she and her roommate will take a couple of days to fill the order.
"It's tons of work, but me and my room-mate … don't mind the work," she said. "So it's kind of half-and-half. It's pleasure and work, so it's not too bad.
Viney said she might consider picking next year for a wholesaler, like Mike Poulin.
Poulin, who owns James Bay Wild Fruit, said he buys berries from pickers at collection points all over the northeast.
Currently he's paying $10-$11 quart in Sudbury — and more for the big baskets.
70% of berries head south
Transportation costs are adding to the overall cost of the berries right now, Poulin noted.
"Even though you may have paid $100 for it to the picker, you've actually put maybe $300 into it," he said.
"So there's no way you'll recover that money at the beginning of the season
As the berries become more plentiful, the prices he pays to pickers will drop — and so will prices in the stores.
The best money to be made is in selling berries by the side of the highway, which Poulin joked he'll try next year.
"A picker might think that a quart in Toronto sells for $25 but, in fact it might only sell for sixteen," he said.
"But because of that belief, he'll sell it for $25 in Sudbury on the side of the road."
About 70 per cent of the berries he buys end up in southern Ontario, Poulin said.