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How to Ship Blueberries

Blueberries in the United States

The United States is the worlds largest importer of blueberries. Weekly domestic blueberries ship through California, Oregon, and Washington. In 2020, the blueberry purchase amount was nearly $1.393 billion.During The first half of the high season, blueberries supplied by Central California with harvest in April, the other half is supplied by Oregon and Washington in the beginning of June.

Most blueberries are shipped by truck across the United States and from Mexico. In 2016, the industry sold 314.6 million pounds of fresh blueberries. 65% of these blueberries shipped from Mexico and the U.S via freight truck. 28% shipped from South America traveling by boat, and 8% by air from Chile and Argentina.

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What kinds of blueberries are there

There are 5 main types of blueberries listed below.

  1. Northern Highbush
  2. Southern Highbush
  3. Lowbush
  4. Hybrid half-high
  5. Rabbiteye

The most common blueberries produced are northern highbush.

Top 10 Blueberry growing countries

The top 10 producers of blueberries worldwide are listed and weight exported in 2020.

  1. The United States 294,000 tons
  2. Peru 180,300 tons
  3. Canada 146,370 tons
  4. Poland 55,300 tons
  5. Mexico 50,293 tons
  6. Spain 48,520 tons
  7. Portugal 15,420 tons
  8. Germany 11,300 tons
  9. Netherlands 9,200 tons
  10. Australia 7,059 tons

Safe Handling of Blueberries

Like any produce being harvested, blueberries should be handled with care and in a clean and sanitary environment once picked. Farmers and farm workers should practice clean, hygienic practices before and during the blueberry harvesting process. Harvested blueberries should be stored in clean, sanitized containers during their time between the field and their staging area. It is also important to avoid cross-contamination with other farm materials or chemicals. The produce should be transported in a clean vehicle using appropriate containers. Once transported from the field, blueberries should continue to be handled with care to avoid bruising.

How Do I Ship Fresh Blueberries Safely?

Blueberries are sensitive, and various things can be damaging to them. Blueberries can attract diseases, freezer burn, or becomes smashed in the shipping process. Because of this, it is essential to prep and package your blueberries with extreme caution. Follow these steps to ensure your fresh blueberries’ transit is a seamless process.

Steps for Preparing your Blueberries

  • Start by placing the blueberries in a primary container like a plastic clamshell container or a plastic bag.
  • Next, get a rigid cardboard box for the previous containers and ensure that all packages have vent holes. Vent holes allow moisture and ethylene to exit the box, preventing mold, diseases, and premature decay. Ethylene is gas in large quantities, it can pose a serious risk as a flammable substance. This makes ventilation and knowledge of the fruit essential. This also means shipping blueberries can be compared to hauling hazardous materials (HAZMAT).
  • Once you’ve placed the blueberries into the containers, consider placing an absorbent pad in the primary containers to absorb excess moisture.
  • Stacking is an important step to take to minimize shifting during shipping. Zero movement will ensure your blueberries do not experience harm during transit.
  • The final step to packaging your blueberries is to seal the box with glue or staples. It would help if you used the same size box for each container of blueberries to make palletizing the shipment more manageable.

How to Ship Frozen Blueberries?

There are many hoops to jump through to ensure your fresh blueberries arrive unharmed and as fresh as when they were picked. Luckily, when shipping frozen blueberries, there is a lot more leeway. Frozen Blueberries have a hardened consistency, allowing for looser packaging requirements. In addition, the fruit’s frozen nature allows for longer transit times compared to the quick turnaround of fresh blueberries. Like fresh blueberries, frozen berries must be transported using reefer trailers or any other type of temperature-controlled hauling vehicle. Transporting temperature-controlled goods can be tricky, so be sure to choose a carrier with experience and knowledge of the produce they are preparing to haul.

Let FreightCenter Help Ship Your Fresh or Frozen Blueberries

FreightCenter has over 20 years of experience helping shippers transport produce throughout the United States. Whether fresh, frozen, or processed, FreightCenter’s team of trusted shipping experts is here to help you with all your shipping needs. Need unique add-ons or have specific pickup or delivery requests? No problem! Just tell your shipping agent what services you need, and we will do our best to provide those for you. Ready to ship? Give us a call at 8007167608 or run a free online quote today!

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