University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


The fresh blackberry market within the United States has expanded significantly in the past 10 years based on the development of new cultivars with improved firmness and longer shelf life, permitting their shipment over long distances. Currently, blackberries maintain a nearly continuous presence on the shelves of grocery stores across the U.S., which was uncommon a decade ago. Increased consumption of blackberries is due to increased consumer desire for improved nutrition and diet along with expanded availability. Worldwide, producers have increased production with a 45% increase in area planted from 1995 to 2005. Further expansion has occurred since then. This examination of the market history and its characterization was intended to highlight major aspects of the blackberry market as it changed from 1999 to 2008. The primary source of information was from shipments and price data maintained by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. With these data, it was possible to track trends in the U.S. fresh blackberry market. Specifically, growth in blackberry shipments from major domestic and international production regions and price trends in major U.S. terminal markets were characterized. Results show fresh blackberry shipments increased by 530% from 2000 to 2008. The largest volume of blackberry shipments originated from California and Mexico. Blackberry prices at all terminal markets had a similar seasonal pattern. In October and November, prices were highest as these months represent the end of California’s production season and the very beginning of Mexico’s. The lowest prices occurred in May, when there was a very high level of Mexican imports, and often in July when domestic production was greatest.