PEI

Blueberry growers look for silver lining in poor season

Some blueberry growers on P.E.I. have seen their crops severely affected by cold weather in June, but those that escaped the frost are hoping prices, which have nosedived in recent years, will improve.

Blueberry prices are less than half what they were a few years ago

Many blueberry fields on P.E.I. were hit by a severe frost in June. (Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia)

Some blueberry growers on P.E.I. have seen their crops severely affected by cold weather in June, but those that escaped the frost are hoping prices, which have nosedived in recent years, will improve.

Hard frost in early June, including snowfall in places on June 6, struck at a crucial time for blueberry bud development. Some farmers are reporting their yields are down by a third.

P.E.I. farmers are not alone in their difficulties. Yields in Nova Scotia and Maine are also down. P.E.I. Wild Blueberry Growers Association believes the poor year could lead to a rebound in prices.

"We are hoping for a return to profitability level on the prices," said John Handrahan, a blueberry grower and a spokesman for the association.

Even if prices rebound, some blueberry farmers will struggle this year, says John Handrahan. (CBC)

"Those growers who had an average or slightly less than average crop, they should certainly see a return to some form of profitability, however any farmer that was significantly affected by the frost and reduced crops will still struggle this year."

Handrahan said several years ago growers could expect about 55 cents a pound, but in recent years that's dropped as low as 20 cents.

The association expects final numbers on this year's crop to be available by early October.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown

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