- Despite a drought, Maine's wild blueberry crop is expected to have a high yield of 93 million pounds this summer, according to an Associated Press article.
- Growers have struggled with oversupply issues in the past few years because of bumper crops and less expensive blueberries from Canada. The federal government spent about $13 million to buy up excess blueberry harvest this spring.
- Wild blueberries, which represented less than a sixth of the total crop in 2014, are often used in frozen foods.
Blueberries are growing in popularity, with per capita consumption rising by almost 50% between 2010 and 2015, according to the North American Highbush Blueberry Council.
Not only are consumers interested in the taste and size of the berries, but they also know more about their health benefits. According to the NAHBC's survey, 84% of consumers said they were aware of the fruit's nutritional benefits. Blueberries are low in fat and provide consumers with manganese and vitamin C. Researchers are looking at the role blueberries may play in cardiovascular and brain health.
However, the U.S. does import large amounts of blueberries — 234.7 million pounds in 2014, with about 20% coming from Canada, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. And Maine's blueberries aren't the only ones seeing a banner year. Oregon's blueberries are also toppling records, with more than 100 million pounds picked so far this year, according to estimates from the Oregon Blueberry Commission.
With such high yields coming domestically, it might be a good time to take another look at imports from places that produce fresh blueberries at the same time as in the United States. With such a large supply at home, it might also be a good time for manufacturers to look into adding blueberries to products. These could both improve color and flavor and add health benefits. Frozen blueberries could especially come into play here, since researchers have found that these berries deliver more antioxidants than their fresh counterparts.