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Friday, September 29, 2023
Sept. 29, 2023

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Blueberries surpass peaches as top Georgia fruit crop


Georgia is perfect for growing blueberries because of its hot summers and mild winters.

Georgia may be the Peach State, but blueberries have slowly risen to become the state’s top fruit crop.

The blueberry industry in Georgia accounts for nearly $350 million of economic activity, while peaches make up under $85 million.

Analysts attribute the blueberry’s rise to a combination of increasing consumer demand and Georgia’s ideal growing conditions — long hot summers and mild winters.

“The demand for blueberries has always been higher than the supply,” said Greg Fonsah, a professor in UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “The excess demand was instrumental in the rapid expansion and productivity of the blueberry industry. This positive consumer demand trend has consistently increased despite multifaceted structural, institutional, policy, weather and natural disaster problems plaguing the industry.”

In 2021, the U.S. “produced and utilized 660 million pounds of cultivated blueberries,” with 4.15 million pounds coming from Georgia.