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Why are blueberries so expensive in Australia?


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#1 MotherClucker

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:15 PM

Are they just not a popular fruit? As a kid, we used to buy huge boxes of them from the grocery store to freeze. When I was in Canada 3 years ago, we stopped at Costco on my way to Dad's and bought a 3 kilo box for 5.99. My local IGA is selling them for 23.99/kg. I would of thought they were easy to grow?

#2 Stellajoy

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:17 PM

easy to grow, horrible to pick and harvest. hugely layout intensive

#3 la di dah

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:18 PM

They grow well in Canada and Maine and places with several feet of snow a winter.

I see blueberry shrubs sold here in Sydney but I don't know how well they do. They were the perfect landscape shrub (neat, thornless, attractive flowers) in my hometown but my hometown does ice/snow/winter.

When I have a garden I am going to try to grow them here but I expect it to be difficult, in a trade-off for being able to grow lemons.

#4 ThatsNotMyName

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:18 PM

I think we have limited suitable climate for berries in Australia so lack of abundance drives the price up. I noticed how cheap berries were in the UK when we were there a few months ago, seriously just a fraction of what we pay here, I have to assume it's a climate related thing.

Edited by ThatsNotMyName, 21 November 2011 - 12:19 PM.


#5 dadwasathome

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:26 PM

$20 a kilo is probably the best we get, although if you're lucky $15 in high summer.

There really wasn't a lot of availability in Australia until the 1990s - certainly not the widespread native shrub of North America.

Now, how well do Canadian mago trees fruit? original.gif

#6 peking homunculus

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:29 PM

Relatively new industry and blueberries are seen as a luxury item.



#7 angelam pacificae

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:37 PM

I've tried growing my own (in Melbourne) and killed them every time...but I'm a mediocre gardener, so that just means they're not exceptionally easy.

On top of what PPs have mentioned, I understand blueberries are also a fruit which need a lot of water to thrive.  Not a drought tolerant plant at all.  I saw a lot more in Tasmania, and think perhaps they do better in the climate there?

#8 ComradeBob

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:40 PM

QUOTE (ThatsNotMyName @ 21/11/2011, 01:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think we have limited suitable climate for berries in Australia so lack of abundance drives the price up. I noticed how cheap berries were in the UK when we were there a few months ago, seriously just a fraction of what we pay here, I have to assume it's a climate related thing.

Yep. Berries are a cool climate fruit, so they're very cheap during their limited season in the UK. Plus you can grow them successfully in your garden, my MIL grows loads of raspberries, as does my uncle.

Conversely, it can be almost impossible to buy decent cheap mangoes in the UK. They're mostly weird tasteless varieties. And they don't come by the box.



#9 Me n Marshmallow

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:41 PM

I get a 1 kg bag for $8.99 from coles. However they are imported.

#10 nen-c

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:45 PM

QUOTE (la di dah @ 21/11/2011, 01:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They grow well in Canada and Maine and places with several feet of snow a winter.

I see blueberry shrubs sold here in Sydney but I don't know how well they do. They were the perfect landscape shrub (neat, thornless, attractive flowers) in my hometown but my hometown does ice/snow/winter.

When I have a garden I am going to try to grow them here but I expect it to be difficult, in a trade-off for being able to grow lemons.



LDD - there are a native berry which are blue/purple and are gritty and pretty yum. Can't remember the name right now and am actually supposed to be working so can't look it up = but I'm sure someone will post it, and maybe you can grow those instead original.gif

#11 la di dah

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:51 PM

QUOTE (nen-c @ 21/11/2011, 01:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
LDD - there are a native berry which are blue/purple and are gritty and pretty yum. Can't remember the name right now and am actually supposed to be working so can't look it up = but I'm sure someone will post it, and maybe you can grow those instead original.gif


Lillypillies? I might try those (or something else, if I am thinking of the wrong thing) but blueberries grown well are soooo good I'll still miss them a little.

I think raspberries grow here but I can't find black raspberries (not blackberries) and that makes me a sad bunny.

#12 Jenflea

Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:52 PM

My parents tried growing blueberries in Canberra (where we DO get cold Winters) and failed. I read somewhere they have to be the correct type of bush to grow here. I think there are 2 different varieties, northern and southern or something.
I saw 2 plants at Bunnings last week and was VERY tempted, but I'll try next year I think. My 19 month old goes through between 250gm and 400gm a WEEK, PLUS 500gm to 750gm of Strawberries, plus apples and other assorted fruits.
I'm growing strawberries but they aren't taking off that well yet, I'm getting maybe ONE berry a week lol, out of 5 plants. And she eats that one the day before it's fully ripe !

#13 jfl

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:04 PM

Jen, do you go blackberrying in late summer?  There are lots of these delicious pests growing around Canberra, well worth an expedition or two if your child is a berry-eater.

The thing with berries is that they have a very short fruiting season - a type will all fruit at once and then they are gone for the rest of the year. That's why they are so popular for jams and preserves.  I think that strawberries are grown in greenhouses now, with a few different types fruiting at different times, so their season is longer than it used to be. I must say a lot of them don't have much flavour though, compared to home grown ones.

Back in the Dark Ages, when I was a child, strawberries (which were very expensive) were a Christmas treat. They were only available for a few weeks in any quantity.

#14 *LucyE*

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:49 PM

QUOTE
horrible to pick and harvest. hugely layout intensive

QUOTE
I think we have limited suitable climate for berries in Australia so lack of abundance drives the price up.

QUOTE
Relatively new industry and blueberries are seen as a luxury item.

That, plus they are water intensive which is an expensive cost of production.

I have blueberry bushes that are fruiting right now.  The fruit straight off the bush tastes so amazing compared to the soapy flavourless blue things in shops.  We are in the western side of SE QLD.

Edited by *LucyE*, 21 November 2011 - 01:51 PM.


#15 MotherClucker

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:51 PM

I have fond memories of picking buckets and buckets of blackberries when I was a kid. I was mortified when I saw they were spraying to kill them in this area.

I never tasted mango until I moved to Australia. They are around $3 each where we live now so mostly only eat them at Christmas.

I guess it is just one of those things I took for granted. I did not know that blueberries/raspberries required a colder climate.

I agree about strawberries not having much flavour. Some of them are down right nasty! There are usually 1 or 2 rotten ones in a punnet as well which sh*ts me.

#16 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:53 PM

I wish they were cheaper, my kids eat them like lollies, I buy a small punnet for around $4 and it's gone on the car ride home.

#17 Chelara

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:54 PM

We're growing blueberries and I am in either North West or Western Sydney* no snow, a few frosts and hot summers is all we get. We just have 1 single plant, planted last year and it probably had about 2 dozen on it though DD picked most of them before they were ripe.

*depends who you ask

#18 Its Percy

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:55 PM

We get them pretty cheap during the season here in NZ - like a couple of dollars a punnet.

However loads of other tropical fruit are very expensive and imported so I guess its all a trade off.

Edited by Percoriel, 21 November 2011 - 01:56 PM.


#19 livvie7586

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:55 PM

QUOTE (Jenflea @ 21/11/2011, 01:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My parents tried growing blueberries in Canberra (where we DO get cold Winters) and failed. I read somewhere they have to be the correct type of bush to grow here. I think there are 2 different varieties, northern and southern or something.
I saw 2 plants at Bunnings last week and was VERY tempted, but I'll try next year I think. My 19 month old goes through between 250gm and 400gm a WEEK, PLUS 500gm to 750gm of Strawberries, plus apples and other assorted fruits.
I'm growing strawberries but they aren't taking off that well yet, I'm getting maybe ONE berry a week lol, out of 5 plants. And she eats that one the day before it's fully ripe !


is it the strawberries first year???  we're getting a couple a day off 2 plants, but this is their second season (one more season left in them).

#20 ComradeBob

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:58 PM

QUOTE (MotherClucker @ 21/11/2011, 02:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have fond memories of picking buckets and buckets of blackberries when I was a kid. I was mortified when I saw they were spraying to kill them in this area.

Blackberries, although delicious, are a noxious weed in most parts of Australia due to their propensity to grow extremely thick and extremely impenetrable in an extremely short amount of time, which renders them dangerous to native wildlife (they crowd out plants) and extremely expensive to get rid of.

Which, being a blackberry lover, I do find sad, but having seen first hand what they are capable of, I think is sensible.

#21 Mrs Flanders

Posted 21 November 2011 - 01:59 PM

Not true about cold climate. I come from mid-north NSW coast where a lot of blueberries are grown (in Woolies and Coles you'll see a lot of blueberries from Corindi and Woolgoolga which are just north of Coffs Harbour.) Picking season is around now which is why they are significant cheaper at the moment.

#22 Guest_Cathode_*

Posted 21 November 2011 - 02:15 PM

I have been growing low chill Blueberries for the last few years. I am down to 3 bushes and I am rewarded with only handful of berries every season sad.gif

When Blueberry season is in full tilt, punnet price will drop to $3 a punnet.

#23 Sockergris

Posted 21 November 2011 - 02:25 PM

QUOTE (Me n Marshmallow @ 21/11/2011, 01:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I get a 1 kg bag for $8.99 from coles. However they are imported.


$6.49 for 1kg at Costco.   Not fresh or Australian grown but the way my kids eat them (by the bucket full!) I don't care.

#24 Jenflea

Posted 21 November 2011 - 02:42 PM

It is the first season for my strawberries.
I also have fond memories of going blackberry picking around the Cotter Dam here, i think they get sprayed now sad.gif

#25 kpingitquiet

Posted 21 November 2011 - 02:49 PM

Muntries berries are nice for local fruit.

I miss blueberries. Did you know the biggest grower of highbush blueberries is the state of Michigan? biggrin.gif Makes me glad to have half a family there!

Anyway, we have two blueberry bushes. So far, so good!




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