(The Center Square) — Washington state is the top blueberry producer in the world, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
“When it comes to blueberries, Washington state can take a bow,” a WSDA news release reads. “Each berry you enjoy is a product of the state’s dedication to agricultural excellence.”
Farmers in Washington, the nation’s top blueberry-producing state, grow close to 90,000 tons of blueberries every year, according to the Aug. 8 news release. The state produced 180 million pounds of blueberries valued at $228.4 million in 2021, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The WSDA posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, to celebrate the state’s status as top blueberry producer.
Western Washington grows close to 55% of the state’s blueberry crop, while Eastern Washington grows close to 45%, according to the news release.
The state’s producers of highbush blueberries, which grow taller and bring higher yields than other varieties, generated $464.4 million in economic impact and created more than 4,400 jobs each year as of 2020, according to the California Ag Network.
Oregon produced 150 million pounds of blueberries in 2021, worth $171.7 million, according to the USDA. The state’s highbush producers generated $353.5 million in economic impact and created more than 3,500 jobs each year as of 2020, according to the California Ag Network.
The United States grows 95% of blueberries on the planet, according to the news release. The nation’s highbush blueberry growers brought more than $12.7 million flowing into the American economy as of 2020, according to the California Ag Network, creating and sustaining the equivalent of more than 44,500 full time jobs each year.
But the nation is still a net importer of blueberries, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resources Center. The United States imported close to 571.3 million pounds of fresh blueberries in 2021, worth close to $1.6 billion.
Whatcom News note: In 2016, Whatcom County was recognized as the biggest blueberry producing county in Washington when it came to blueberry production. An estimated 7,000 acres were growing blueberries at the time, accounting for nearly 40% of the total state production, according to Alan Schreiber, administrator of the Washington Blueberry Commission.