Mo' better blues

Jun 1, 2009

On Saturday, the Fresno Bee published its take on the Valley's burgeoning blueberry industry. Writer Robert Rodriguez, well acquainted with UC Cooperative Extension, spoke to farm advisor Manuel Jimenez for perspective on producing a crop whose value climbed from zero at $30 million in less than 10 years. Jimenez's home county, Tulare, is the state's leading grower, producing a blueberry crop valued at $17 million.

"We have nearly every level of production right now from small plots to large commercial plantings of more than 1,000 acres," the Bee story quoted Jimenez.

Rodriguez noted that Valley farmers have spent years researching and experimenting with different varieties to find the ones best suited to the region's climate and soils, "with Jimenez's help."

Jimenez holds annual blueberry meetings at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center near Parlier to discuss new varieties and growing methods.

"But it's not easy having those field days, because growers don't always want to share," Jimenez was quoted.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist