Recent Rains Actually Hurt Blueberry Farmers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Recent Rains Actually Hurt Blueberry Farmers

Last year, B & M Blueberry Farm's packing plant was filled with thousands of blueberries ready to be shipped out. But more recently, the plant has been empty.

"When we have rain like we've had in the last two days, it's devastating because we lose a tremendous amount of fruit," Luis Monterde, one south Mississippi blueberry farmer, said. "The fruit will explode, just burst, and we can't use that fruit. That fruit is gone."

Monterde owns more than 20 acres of blueberry bushes. He estimates that the rain has cost him about $10,000.

"It's also the amount of time that we are out of the fields, because we can not harvest we can not pack any berries that are wet. All berries have to be totally dry."

But, he says the good news is that he has a lot of berries left that are not ripe yet. Heavy rainfall has no affect on those, and neither did the preceding drought because larger growers have irrigation systems.

"We have had a very good year, a tremendous yield. As you can see, the quality of the berries have been superb. The market has been very strong. We're shipping to areas we've never been able to in the past, shipping to New England states. We shouldn't let a few days rain over shadow all the good things happening this year."

Despite the rain, Monterde says South Louisiana and Mississippi growers will likely ship out more than a million and a half pounds of blueberries this year.

Growers say the blueberry market is so strong right now , consumers can expect to pay the same prices they saw last summer. Monterde says prices could drop in mid-July.

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