PROSSER, Wash. (AP) - Blueberries are no longer a U-pick experiment in the Yakima Valley.
The Yakima Valley has nearly 2,000 acres of blueberries, representing about a quarter of the state's total of 8,000 acres. Five years there were probably less than 100 acres of blueberries in the valley.
Michigan is the nation's leading producer with one-third of the country's 60,000-plus acres of blueberries.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that many of the valley's two dozen blueberry growers added the fruit as a way to diversify. The bulk of the valley's crop is shipped to California - to berry-marketing giant Driscoll's.
A recent leveling in prices may indicate the blueberry market is saturated. But the executive director of the Washington Blueberry Commission, Alan Schreiber, expects production in the Yakima Valley to double each year for the next three or four years, as recently planted bushes begin bearing fruit.
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