Mother Nature co-operates with regions blueberry crop

Sherry Martell
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Good season shaping up thanks in large part to recent rain

TRURO - Rainfall during the past few days has helped plump up the size
of wild blueberries now ripe for the picking.
David Sangster, general manager of the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia, said the majority of receiving sheds in the region will be open by the end of the week and ready for the crop to roll in.
"We're at the very front of the harvest in this area," said Sangster.
He said some berry fields are just beginning to turn blue and will need to ripen further before they can be harvested but many are ready now and overall the berry size is looking very good.
He said although it may seem like July was a rather rainy month, it was very misty and cloudy with a small quantity of rain so fields are dry enough to drive the mechanical harvesters on.
Between 85 and 90 per cent of the crop is mechanically harvested with manual labourers selected to rake smaller fields or on inclines.
The general manager said it is difficult to guess what quantity the crop may yield but he anticipates it being less than last year's total of about 40 million pounds.
"After about two weeks of berries coming in we'll have a better idea of what the crop would look like," he said.
Last season the price producers raked in for the province's official berry dropped dramatically from $1.05 per pound to 60 cents per pound.
Sangster said producers don't know if the price will go up or down this season.
"We'll have to wait until there's enough berries flowing to know what the price will be like," he said.
The region's Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival will get underway Friday and will run to Aug. 29 with a number of blueberry-inspired activities and events held in Pictou, Colchester and Cumberland counties.

Organizations: Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Pictou, Cumberland

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