Headland, AL - It’s blueberry harvest season and packing facilities are in full production. It doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.
Chris Raley and his family planted their 35 acres of blueberries just six years ago. They expect this year to be their best ever.
“This is our first big year. We’re excited to see what the turnaround is going to be,” said Raley.
In fact, for many blueberry farmers in the area this will be a big year putting the four packing facilities in the Wiregrass to work. Their bushes are maturing producing double the amount of fruit. The good news for local farmers doesn’t stop there. A late freeze damaged large blueberry crops up north.
“As it is with farming, one person’s pain is typically someone else’s gain. The price has remained high for us which has been good. We will see the price drop a little bit probably, but we do expect it to stay up.
It’s a good year to be growing blueberries. I just wish we had a few more,” said farmer Ben Blaxton.
Farmers are expected to plant more acres of blueberries in the next few years. With those extra berries they are likely to outgrow these existing packing facilities, but they’re not worried.
“We will absolutely outgrow this facility in a few years and we will need a larger building and a larger packing line. From all indications we will be able to get that,” said Blaxton.
Blaxton hopes part of that growth includes expansion of the infrastructure at the packing facility in Headland.
Much of the blueberries grown locally are being sold to Wal-Mart, but you will be able to purchase a carton from the Festivals on the Square in Headland next Saturday, June 9.