Blueberry Grower Interview

Blueberry grower interview outlining the benefits and challenges of blueberry production.
Blueberry Grower Interview - Videos

Instructors

Farm Management Risk Management Production Economics

More by Jayson K. Harper, Ph.D. 

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Good day. I'm Tim Weiser of Wiser Orchards.

We're standing here in our blueberry field and they're ready to pick, and we're going to tell you a little bit about the blueberries.

What are the benefits of blueberries to your operation?

It gets people in early it's a niche market. When I started out there were only about four growers Pennsylvania that were growing commercial blueberries. It's a pick-your-own operation most of it. We do pick some for our market but we try to get most done pick your own.

What are the challenges of producing this product? Challenges, it takes about two years to prepare your ground to get into blueberry picking you have get your pH down to 4.5 to 5. You need to try to get a lot of your perennial weeds killed off you need to get organic matter in your ground and the first year you plant you need to take your berries off to give the bushes a chance to grow and then you can start production. It is pretty expensive to get started in it with the price in the bushes and stuff. What is your marketing plan for blueberries?

Our operation is pretty much pick your own here.

We we do harvest some. We get eight to nine thousand pounds picked each year pick your own.

We are about a five-week season with it and that pretty much our strategy and brings people out early and it brings people to our market to by other things while they are here. What other marketing options are available for blueberries?

There's a wholesale market out there if you can get get them picked at the right price. It's awful expensive to get them picked, that's why we've chosen to pick your own as much as we can. There there's a market out there for for picked blueberries and if you have an overabundance.

There are always these jelly people that are looking for blueberries to make jams and jellies with so there is a way to get rid of the berries. What else you want people to know about raising blueberries? There's a lot of I won't call them hassles but there's lot of problems with blueberries. They like a like a certain type of ground, they like a certain pH. Certain varieties do better in other soils they don't like wet feet they do like a lot of water we have trickle irrigation in here.

They the yield quite well for us bird problems are a severe problem. We've gone to netting some of our varieties try to keep the birds out. It got to the point that we were losing fifty percent of our production to the birds every year here before we started netting some of the blueberries and now we have some bugs coming in and that's going to be an issue with us. We have a virus on our in our bushes here. It's one that we know it's a virus but they can't detect what kind it is and they can tell me it keeps taking bush's every year so it's one of those things we have to deal with. If I have to plant again another patch I would have to go to another field somewhere to do it. Thank you.

Seen here: Blueberries under netting.

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