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Why Are Berries So Expensive?

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  • Tip Bones

Is there really anything better than fresh blueberries in your morning smoothie, or homemade blackberry jam and raspberry sorbet? Well these certainly make my mouth water, but they absolutely make my wallet cry. Even if you shop for seasonal fruits, berries of all sorts come at a premium all year round. So what gives? Why can't we pay for berries what we pay for our Fuji apples and Bartlett pears? There's actually a reason for this, and no, you're not crazy for thinking you'll have to give your firstborn for a pint of berries.

Berries are ridiculously picky about where they will grow. The soil conditions, as well as the climate, have to be just right for a berry bush to even grow, let alone produce any fruit. That means that the specific (read: mild) conditions that berries love can't be replicated just anywhere. For instance, here in central Arizona it's far too hot to successfully grow berry bushes in the summer, and even the spring and fall get too warm. But even so, the winter dips down too far for a berry bush to succeed. That goes for nearly every growing region, and so berries often have to be confined to greenhouses that are carefully climate controlled. Unfortunately, that costs the farmer a lot of money, a premium that gets passed on to you!

As if that weren't enough, berries are soft and delicate, and difficult to ship without damage. So they must be carefully packed and stored at a cooler temperature than other produce, which-- you guessed it-- costs a lot of money. Honestly, it's amazing my local summer berries only cost 15 cents per ounce! So if you have the time and can put in a bit of extra effort, frozen berries can save you a little, but count on paying a boatload unless you can grow your own!

Photo: Pixabay