Recent rain supporting quality blueberry harvest

A blueberry grower says recent rains will help produce good fruit quality.

West Olive grower Chad Reenders tells Brownfield nearly 40 days without rain earlier this summer was concerning leading up to harvest.

“Right now, they’re sizing,” he shares.  “They’re getting those big, juicy berries that everyone loves and really, the bushes need about one to two inches per week all summer.”

Currently serving as the Michigan Blueberry Advisory Committee president, Reenders says more growers are moving to machine harvesters.

“If you actually mechanical harvest a blueberry bush out in the field, it never even sees a human hand, it’s harvested straight into the consumer’s container and shipped out,” he says.  “The automation technology that’s coming for the blueberry industry really is remarkable.”

He says harvesters can cost more than $200,000 each but are helping overcome labor challenges.  

Harvest started the second week of July and will run through September in Michigan.

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