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Added 5 August, 2017

American grape farmers are turning to blueberries

From desperation comes change. The struggles of California table grape growers 15-20 years ago led the Avinelis family to consider blueberries.
“As table grapes were struggling we looked into diversifying our farms,” says Gunnar Avinelis, chief executive officer of AgriCare, a full-service farm management company based in Porterville, Calif.
Today, the Avinelis family grows or manages about 2,500 acres of conventional and organic blueberries in California and Oregon.
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council says total domestic production is projected to surpass 1.4 billion pounds by 2019 as growing demand has created thriving blueberry industries from California and the Pacific Northwest to states like Florida, Georgia and Michigan.
Villata reports that marketing initiatives in the past 20 years have helped increase domestic consumption by nearly 600 percent.
Michigan has the largest blueberry acreage at about 19,000 acres. In 2014, California ranked seventh in total acreage harvested at about 5,000 acres, but led the nation in per-acre yields at about 10,700 pounds.

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