The value of Maine's wild blueberry harvest last year jumped $20 million over 2010's crop, thanks to a shortage that boosted demand. The crop was worth $70.1 million, compared with nearly $51 million the year before.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, blueberry harvesters brought in 83.1 million pounds, 100,000 more pounds than last year, the Bangor Daily News reported. Prices paid to growers, however, increased from 61 cents per pound in 2010 to 85 cents per pound in 2011. University of Maine Extension wild blueberry specialist David Yarborough told Maine Public Broadcasting Network that a shortage in Quebec two years ago meant a deficit of blueberries in the market this year, and that last year's hot weather also hurt cultivated growers in other states, increasing demand for Maine berries.
Down East blueberry growers last year told Mainebiz they anticipated receiving higher prices for their crop because of increased demand.