WASHINGTON AG NETWORK – GLENN VAAGEN
The Washington Blueberry industry continues to grow. The Washington blueberry crop is expected to top 130 million pounds this year, a year over year increase of roughly 10 million pounds. Total value of the crop is estimated to exceed $150 million in overall production, with about 70% going for processed and 30% for fresh.
Washington Blueberry Commission Executive Director Dr. Alan Schreiber said increased fruit production is strongly driven by consumer awareness about the health benefits of blueberries as a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, and antioxidants.
“Growers have increased organic and conventional production on 15,000 acres, including 2,500 acres of organic,” Schreiber said. “Large plantings in Washington have contributed to the increase, and all the new plantings are of high-yielding varieties planted in higher densities, with highly efficient drip irrigation.”
“The Blueberry Commission continues to educate growers on all aspects of food safety and production – from safe food handling and fertilizer application to fresh sales best practices,” he continued. “The blueberry industry has trained more than 75 growers this season to ensure our berries are safe, with third-party certification process in place for all wholesale and retail sales.”
Washington blueberry production:
- 2006 18.4 million pounds
- 2007 28.5 million pounds
- 2010 60 million pounds
- 2013 80 million pounds
- 2014 96 million pounds
- 2015 103 million pounds
- 2016 120 million pounds
Whatcom County is the top blueberry producing country in Washington, but the crop is grown across the state, including in Chelan, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, and Grant counties.