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Bob Larson Raspberry Buyer Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: July 11, 2018

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

Washington red raspberry growers are scrambling, trying to figure out what to do with this year’s crop as harvest continues WITHOUT a buyer for many of them.

Washington Raspberry Commission director Henry Bierlink says SVZ will buy just 30% of what they bought last year …

BIERLINK … “They kind of recognize the status that it kind of puts a lot of growers in and then they said well, we’re going to try and work with you the best we can, but frankly they didn’t want to pay as much as what has to

be paid for, for anybody here to sell.”

Bierlink says oversupply MAY have played some role in their decision …

BIERLINK … “We’re speculating here. I mean, we know that they’re still holding some fruit and that when we see some of the price quotes, particularly out of Mexico, with the byproduct of the fresh berries down there, it’s just impossible for us to compete with those kind of prices.”

He says wages are also a major competitive challenge …

BIERLINK … “If you average it out, it’s closer to $20 around here and, I mean, if you look at what they’re really getting, not the minimum wage, but you know, I think this is the wake up call I think that needs to come to all of our consumers is that this isn’t just raspberries. This is any labor-dependent crop in the U.S.”

And, Bierlink says other countries don’t have the regulations our growers do …

BIERLINK … “Which, nobody’s arguing that we shouldn’t. We need responsible labor laws, environmental laws, all those kinds of things, but they certainly put us at a competitive disadvantage with some of the imports where those laws are not relevant.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on this wake up call for consumers.

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