Santokh Nandha

Santokh Nandha

Surrey farmers have the blues

Despite wet start to the summer, blueberry season is in full bloom.

by Dennis Page

Despite the deluge of wet weather that ushered in the Lower Mainland’s summer, local blueberry farmers are bracing for another strong crop of the blue super fruit, which will start showing up at farmer’s markets and grocery stores this weekend.

The cool, damp weather through spring and early summer delayed the harvest of this year’s blueberry crop, but farmers anticipate this season will be productive and will run as late as October. They’re also optimistic the bounty will be close to 2011’s record-setting harvest.

“Overall, this year’s crop looks really good, but the weather has brought some challenges,” said Paul Gill, owner of Surrey’s M&M Pacific Coast Farms, referring to the increased costs involved in changing to nutrients and pesticides that work well in cool, wet weather, and operating farm equipment in soaked, muddy fields.

Gill, whose family has operated the farm on 152 Street and 48 Avenue for 33 years, points out that although there is an increased cost in his production, pricing for this year’s blueberry crop will be comparable to last season, partly due to the increased demand for blueberries on the world market.

Gill expects to hire an average of 150 pickers for approximately 12 weeks and plans to start selling the freshly picked berries at his family farm this Saturday.

Increased consumer demand has been steadily rising, with B.C.’s crop bringing in more than $100 million last year, According to the B.C. Blueberry Council, blueberries are becoming more popular because of the health benefits that associated with the fruit.

Aside from having a sweet, distinctive taste, blueberries are a good source for nutrients, containing vitamins B,C and K. They are also credited for their antioxidant effect, which can reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease and loss of brain function.

Gill’s farm grows the highbush variety of blueberries which start with the Duke berries that typically ripen in July, followed by Blue Crop, the world’s most popular blueberry, available throughout late July and August. The Elliott berry becomes available in September.

 

Just Posted

White Rock beach was buzzing with activity on Father’s Day. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: White Rock beach buzzing with activity on Father’s Day

High of 27C drew hundreds of people to the beach

This year’s Virtual Hike for Hospice raised just over $30,000 with the support of participants including Marlene. (Contributed photo)
PHOTOS: Virtual hike raises $30K for Peace Arch Hospice Society

Community support smashes fundraising goal

SFN councillor Joanne Charles, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker and Coun. David Chesney listen to welcoming remarks from Chief Harley Chappell (Xwopokton). (FIle photo)
White Rock, SFN grieve together on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Residents encouraged to wear orange on Canada Day

Surrey RCMP are investigating after shots were fired at a white Jeep Saturday evening in Newton. (Shane MacKichan photo)
UPDATE: Surrey RCMP asking for video after shots fired in Newton

Surrey RCMP said a silver SUV shot at a white Jeep

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Most Read