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Atlantic’s Art Galletta expecting good crop of Jersey blueberries

HAMMONTON, NJ — Barring unforeseen weather events, New Jersey should produce more blueberries than last year, with good quality and sizing, according to Art Galletta, president of Atlantic Blueberry Co., here.

atlantic6404Art Galletta with some Duke variety blueberries. Photo by Gordon M. Hochberg.Volume for the state “should be better than average,” Galletta told The Produce News Monday afternoon, May 20. “Not quite a bumper crop, but it should definitely beat last year. I would think it’ll be 45 million to 50 million pounds, which is a nice manageable size.”

As to sizing of the berries, Galletta stated, “They’re sizing up. I was out looking at the berries this morning, and I was very happy with what I saw.”

Asked when he thought the new season would begin, he replied, “It looks like a June 11-12 start. Some smaller growers might have a few June 11-12. And it’s a pretty quick ramp up once we get started.”

For Atlantic Blueberry Co. itself, Galletta expects volume to be “better than the last couple of years.” New this season: Atlantic has 50 acres of certified organic blueberries.

As the Jersey blueberry season approached, Galletta believed that the market would be favorable. “Georgia is finishing up on some early blueberries, and North Carolina is in the market now,” he noted. Michigan and the western areas of Washington state, Oregon and British Columbia “are running behind schedule,” he said. “That should give us a pretty good window. So we should have a pretty good market when New Jersey starts.”

Atlantic Blueberry Co. is the largest cultivated blueberry grower on the East Coast, according to Galletta, whose family has owned and operated the company since 1935.