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Bob Larson Raspberry Buyer Pt 1
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: July 10, 2018

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson.

Washington’s red raspberry growers who were preparing to start harvest a few weeks ago, got the rug pulled out from under their collective feet when one of their biggest buyers was pulling out…

BIERLINK … “About two, three weeks ago we all of the sudden got the word of one company, SVZ, who has been buying here for decades, that they decided they weren’t going to take any Whatcom County or at least fruit from this area again.”

Washington Red Raspberry Commission executive director Henry Bierlink says the news hit the Whatcom-Skagit County area particularly hard …

BIERLINK … “This is where about 80-90 percent of the red raspberries in Washington are grown, and that was a real blow to almost all growers. Not everyone ships to SVZ, but many people do especially towards either the beginning or the end of the crop when things aren’t at peak, and then at the end of the season too typically, they ship some into barrels and off to SVZ.”

But, Bierlink says other growers were hit some growers were devastated …

BIERLINK … “There are others that rely on them for most of their berries throughout the years. There’s probably a dozen farms in that category and they suddenly were stuck with a question about if I pick berries, where do I bring them?”

Bierlink says almost as suddenly, SVZ did a partial about faced and agreed to purchase about 30% of last year’s berry crop. Bierlink says the offer gives some relief but doesn’t do much in the long term.

Listen tomorrow for more the potential future of Washington Red Raspberries.

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