Sunday, September 28, 2014

Visiting Blueberry Farms

One request I always get -- how can I visit a blueberry farm?   My suggestion is check out the online u-pick directory.  http://www.nabcblues.org/upick.htm
Note the season starts in the Spring in Florida and the South and ends up in the Pacific Northwest in the Fall.   With all of the crazy weather we have had all over the country -- the typical schedules have changed a bit -- so I always advise to check out the websites of the different u pick farms and look for the actual schedules.  Most are posting dates and times.  
Even though the season is ended, you can still check out some of the farms which have farm sales and stores.  You can find blueberry preserves, pies and sometimes frozen blueberries.
Have a great time and remember to check ahead!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Welcome Sunyong Lee: Korean Blueberry Pioneer

Now that we are on the Korean topic, let's talk about the guy who helped make the blueberry fever happen.   He is on a vacation in California now and we connected for a chat and some soju last night to talk about old times in the Korean market.   Sunyong is a Food Scientist and Seoul University graduate and worked in the food industry for decades.   His hobby is mountain climbing and he maintains membership in the Seoul University Mountaineering Club.  
Back in his days in the food industry Sunyong was one of the first to appreciate blueberries.  He worked to develop some of the first blueberry-containing dairy items in the early 80s.   Some of them are still selling well.   Each time I came to Korea we visited companies and promoted blueberries.     He went so far to help companies source full container loads of blueberries.   These new products gave Korean consumers a taste of blueberries and by the end of the 90s -- blueberries were everywhere!
Back to his "retirement."
Besides mountain climbing on weekends all over Korea, Sunyong is also a blueberry grower and adviser to other growers.   We attended the first annual Korea blueberry festival and feasted on blueberry bulgogi, bi bim bap and of course blueberry soju!  (alcohol beverage).  He continued to help Korean companies locate prized blueberries.    He is always contacting his buddies at Korean companies to talk new product ideas with blueberries.
Now, USHBC has finally figured a way to harness his blueberry energy and Sunyong has agreed to serve as our "blueberry food industry ambassador."    He will be helping -- doing what he already does so well.    Promote blueberries and blueberry products!


Friday, September 26, 2014

South Korea Blueberry Mania Continues

I just checked the export statistics last night in anticipation of upcoming grower meetings.   Back in 2004 when USHBC began promotions -- 350,000 lbs. of frozen blueberries.
So far in 2014, more than 10 million lbs as of July 2014!
First of all -- 감사합니다
Say Gam Sa Mee Dah thank you!!!
South Korea is now the largest offshore (non-Canadian) market for frozen blueberries.
What is happening?
Health and beauty continue to drive demand. Where much of the blueberries in past years have been consumer polybag -- now the major food manufacturers are getting into the act!
That means long term usage.
Here are just a few items on the shelves in Korea this month.
Blueberry Milk sold at convenience stores.






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Blueberry Mochi - This is a rice based confectionery from Japan!  














Blueberry Cake - Single Serving.