What is in this article?:
- Georgia blueberry growers project 60 million pound harvest
- 30 percent of first crop was lost
• While the mild winter and early warm temperatures caused some problems with the earlier of the state’s two blueberry crops, Georgia’s late-season berries are doing fine.
GEORGIA BLUEBERRY growers project they will harvest about 60 million pounds of berries this year despite a February frost.
It’s time to dust off those killer pie and muffin recipes. Georgia’s blueberry season is in full swing.
While the mild winter and early warm temperatures caused some problems with the earlier of the state’s two blueberry crops, Georgia’s late-season berries are doing fine, said Joe Cornelius, president of J&B Blueberry Farms in Manor, Ga., and chairman of the Georgia Blueberry Commission.
“The berries are very good this year,” he said. “We had a rough start, but the volume is starting to ramp up and the quality of the berries is good … I don’t think the grocery shelves have seen a gap in the supply either. We’ve been scurrying around the fields, working really hard to make sure they haven’t seen a gap.”
Because of the different varieties of berries planted and different weather patterns across the state, Georgia has one blueberry harvest in April and one in late May or June.
This year both sets of bushes bloomed early, said Scott Nesmith, a blueberry horticulturalist at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences campus in Griffin, Ga.
“It’s historically early; it’s off-the-charts early,” NeSmith said. “We were about five weeks early in South Georgia … I have some things blooming here, in Griffin, that I’ve never seen ripe before May 28, and I’ve been watching them for 10 years.”
Early blooming doesn’t seem to be affecting the state’s second harvest much, but the first harvest suffered this year because the bushes bloomed early and then were damaged by a mid-February frost, Nesmith said.