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Blueberries have been one of the star products of the produce industry the past few years. A “super food” noted for health, sales have blossomed. Both foreign and domestic producers have worked to capture this growing market. Low prices, however, have threatened the viability of many domestic suppliers — especially during so-called “shoulder” seasons when US production competes directly with foreign producers.
The threatened domestic farmers have banded together to petition the government for help in the form of tariffs, minimum pricing, import restrictions — anything that will keep their farms viable.
Larger producers, not as vulnerable, both because of when their crop rolls out and because they have gotten into the business of providing 52-week supply through importing, have banded together to speak for their interests, the interests of retailers and other service suppliers, and of consumers — to keep serving what is anticipated to be ever-rising consumption of blueberries.
To provide the industry a fair perspective on this issue, we reached out to industry leaders on both sides of the issue. After listening to the conflict, we also provide our perspective in a separate piece below the interviews.