In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Brittany Lee, vice president of Florida Blue Farms and the newest crop report contributor. Lee has a strong background in Florida agriculture, having grown up there. She also served as the executive director of the Florida Blueberry Association.
“So of course taste is always going to be a factor, but additionally, plant structure is very important. Machine harvestability is very important. Because of machine harvestability, a condensed crop is also important so that you can machine the crop less times to prevent plant damage or any injury to the root systems. I would say machine-ability, condensed crop, great tasting … those are all things that we’re trying to look for and identify.” – Brittany Lee
“I think that our group of Florida growers that I’ve had to mentor me and to look up to in the industry, they’re just tremendous growers. They’re extremely knowledgeable and always on the cutting edge of innovation and technology. I think we’re early adapters in Florida and we’ve pushed the envelope on machine harvestable varieties for southern highbush. … Of course quality has always been our number one concern. We don’t want there to be a visible or detectable difference between something that’s hand picked or machine picked. And that’s a high bar that we’ve set for ourselves as growers to achieve and strive for. But you know, I think it’s something that everyone here is serious about.” – Brittany Lee
Topics covered include:
- Lee’s experience and contributions to the blueberry industry.
- New genetic varieties and properties growers are most interested in and prioritize when making selections.
- The unique characteristics involved in farming blueberries in Florida.
The Blueberry Crop Report is an update on crop conditions and markets throughout important blueberry growing areas. Today you’ll hear from Mario Ramirez in Mexico. This was recorded on February 22, 2023.