Bumper crops don't yield higher profits

| Print |  Email
Thursday, July 23, 2009
ATS_berries

Berry and cherry crops have benefited from this summer’s perfect weather, but those lovely temperatures also created shorter picking seasons. As farmers scramble to pick, process and sell their fruit, many of them aren’t seeing higher profits.

Cherry production is expected to reach 60,000 tons, says Dana Branson, administrator of the Oregon Sweet Cherry Commission. B.J. Thurlby, president of Washington-based Northwest Cherry Growers, expects the value of production to be at an all-time high, but some growers have locked into higher prices while others have lost out.

“Every year in the cherry business there are winners and losers,” says Thurlby. “This is definitely a gambler’s proposition.”

He’s heard of packing companies turning growers away because they’re already processing at capacity. Some growers have told Branson they’ve stopped picking because large corporations are offering prices so low, growers will not make a profit.

“It’s heartbreaking,” says Branson. “Everybody started out this season with such optimism.”

Blackberries, strawberries and raspberries also experienced shorter picking seasons this year and normal yields that are still better than those of last year when cold weather damaged some of the crops.

Stocks of frozen blackberries are low and demand is up, a situation that has the potential to benefit farmers. But according to Dave Dunn of Salem-based Willamette Valley Fruit Company, “With the condensed crop, the opportunity to negotiate for better prices might not materialize.”

He thinks the future of blackberries could become more marketable. “Black is not a very attractive color in a drink but there’s an attitude that blacks are going to be the next trend. It’s a little early to tell.”

Blueberry growers have certainly benefited from health-food trends. For the last five years, the industry has grown steadily in both demand and production. But this year marks a plateau in the industry as supply exceeds demand for the first time. Growers are seeing lower prices across the board. Doug Krahmer of St. Paul-based Berries Northwest has seen fresh blueberry prices drop 25% this year and was losing money in July.

Bryan Ostlund, administrator of the Oregon Blueberry Commission, hopes companies will start creating more blueberry-based products with the assurance of a steady supply of fruit. “We’re always feeling like we’re in uncharted waters recently,” he says.
Growers might feel uncertain about the future or frustrated with the unexpected downside of a bumper crop, but this summer someone is definitely benefiting: the consumer.

JENNY FURNISS
 

More Articles

Announcing the date of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon event

News
Friday, March 20, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-250pxwBY OB STAFF

Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!


Read more...

European Vacation

Guest Blog
Thursday, April 23, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

There are winners and losers with a strengthening U.S. dollar.


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

100 Best: The Power of the Worker

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
AND AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Technology is empowering people like never before and transforming how employees interact in the workplace. How can companies attract and keep staff engaged in this rapidly changing world?


Read more...

2015 100 Best companies announced

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
IMG 0022cneditBY OB STAFF

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS