Thursday, September 04, 2014

Strange season means blueberry growers facing quotas

Blueberries across Maritimes ready for harvest at same time, creating processing crunch

By Angela Walker, CBC News Posted: Sep 04, 2014 2:22 PM AT Last Updated: Sep 04, 2014 2:22 PM AT
Blueberry growers are facing limits on how much of their crop they can take to the Jasper Wyman and Son processing plant in Morell, says the chair of the P.E.I. Wild Blueberry Growers Association.
David MacNearney said blueberry crops across the region have ripened at the same time, meaning there are too many berries coming in at once for processing.   

MacNearney said growers thought with the expansion at the plant in Morell this year there would be no problems with processing.

"Usually Maine starts harvesting and then a week or two after that, it would be New Brunswick and a week or two after that it would be Nova Scotia, and P.E.I. would follow with maybe a week or two after that," said MacNearney.

"This year it's everyone,  they are still harvesting in Maine."  

He said the quota is based on each individual grower's harvesting capacity. In addition to the quotas growers have been told to only harvest for eight hours a day instead of the usual 12.

MacNearney said growers certainly understand the situation and that it has been a very unusual growing season. The quota applies to Wyman's fields as well, he said, so everyone is being treated the same.

Company officials told CBC News they only have about half of their own crop harvested at this point.

MacNearney hopes growers will be able to get all the berries harvested and processed before any deep frost.


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