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Berry crop shrinks

Julie Angell • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:44 PM

Local farms are taking a small hit this year, but they’re planning on good business for one of Michigan’s favorite treats for July.

Last year’s blueberry crop in Ottawa County totaled about 40 million pounds, according to MSU Small Fruit Extension Educator Carlos Garcia-Salazar. Experts estimate about a 20 percent drop this year.

That decrease in berries affects the rest of Michigan as well, as Ottawa County produces approximately 50 percent of all berries in the state, Garcia-Salazar said. 

The cold winter had more of an impact than the recent wet spring, fellow MSU Extension Educator Mark Longstroth said. Blueberries start to become negatively affected once temperatures drop below zero.

Longstroth said Ottawa County’s crop was not impacted by the weather as much as counties away from Lake Michigan.

“Rain is really good (and) blueberries like the soil moist,” he said. “Blueberries seem to be sizing pretty well.”

Crossroads Blueberry Farm owner Dave Reenders said his business might be a little off from last year, but he’s confident that growing conditions for his farm in West Olive are optimal. The wet spring and some slightly cold temperatures have actually aided blueberry size.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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