2021 Wild blueberry crop - the polar opposite of 2020
September 30, 2021
2021 will be remembered as being the polar opposite of 2020 across all North American wild blueberry growing regions.
A Very Poor Crop in Quebec
As predicted in our June 30th Pre-Crop Report, the 2021 wild blueberry crop in Quebec was significantly impacted by the frosts which occurred during the bloom phase towards end May / early June. In addition to this, there was an extended dry period in June which further inhibited proper fruit development. All in all, we estimate Quebec’s conventional wild blueberry crop to be down by approx. 50-55% vs. a ‘normal’ crop and the organic crop to be down by approx. 85%. While these are both extreme crop reductions, the organic reduction qualifies as a disaster. Quebec enjoyed a robust crop in 2020 and the exact opposite is true for 2021.
Good Crops Elsewhere
Apart from northern New Brunswick which also suffered the effects of frost damage during the bloom, all other wild blueberry growing regions enjoyed good wild blueberry crops in 2021. This came as a big relief to all stakeholders in those regions, following the extreme crop shortages that they experienced in 2020.
Carry-Over Inventory Depletion
Due to the overall significant 2020 crop reduction which came on the heels of two previous crop shortages in 2018 and 2019 across our industry—despite Quebec’s good crop in 2020—there was no carry-over inventory whatsoever at the start of the 2021 season. This in itself is extremely rare as there is always at least some carry-over. Not this year.
Supply & Demand
We estimate at this time that the overall 2021 North American wild blueberry crop will be down by approx. 25% vs. a normal range. This estimate will most likely change as we receive more precise regional crop figures in the coming weeks and months, but this rough estimate is what we’re going with for now.
Quebec is Canada’s largest wild blueberry growing region and as such, a shortage in Quebec will have a big impact on the overall supply, especially a shortage as severe as this year’s.
Knowing that in addition to this, there was no carry-over inventory from 2020 across our industry, it becomes quite obvious that there will be, yet again, an imbalance between supply & demand in the market for the coming year, at least until the start of the 2022 harvest season.
We expect that very firm prices will be seen throughout the coming year, with possibly another complete lack of inventory carry-over at the start of the 2022 harvest.
The European bilberry (wild blueberry) market is currently very firm, with higher prices than we have seen for a very long time. The North American cultivated blueberry market is currently very firm with higher prices than we have seen in many years as well.
Several other frozen fruit commodities are at or near record-high price levels.
Our North American wild blueberry is merely one among several frozen fruits that are experiencing very firm market conditions this year. Those who were hoping that our cherished berry would provide some relief in the extreme market conditions affecting so many other fruits will be deeply disappointed. A good year to add frozen cranberries to your mix.
Do you have any questions? Our sales team will be happy to help.
It’s the simple everyday things that make our berries so tender, tasty, healthy and give them the perfect texture. Each parcel of land we farm with care and respect. Each weed we pull by hand. Each extra day we wait to ensure crops are harvested at peak ripeness. Each minute saved between field and freezer. Each berry perfectly preserved. Each unwanted substance detected and eliminated. And each delicious bite our customers enjoy.