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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

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Phone: 503-823-7700

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This Little Blueberry Went to Market

We know that eating locally and sustainably is healthier and more environmentally sound, but there is not a lot of hard data out there to prove it.

Well, the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota has jumped on the food cart in search of some numbers. They assessed the impact of different growers who sold products directly to consumers, through distributers and finally, intermediary supply chains. Five different products were examined in five cities and Portland’s burgeoning blueberry industry was included in the study.

UM researchers tracked three blueberry paths: Hurst Berry Farms selling to an anonymous mainstream grocery store, Thompson Farms who sells berries directly at farm stands and farmers markets, and Nature’s Fountain whose blueberries make their way to several different New Seasons.

Among the information harvested, the study found that:


-         The Hurst Berry Farm’s blueberries traveled 115 miles to market, whereas the Thompson’s and Nature’s Fountain’s went 10 and 70 miles respectively.

-         The producer of the Hurst berries received 26.8% of the sales revenue after all the packing, transport and retail costs where as Nature’s Fountain captured 46.4% and Thompson received 73%.

So get out there, savor berry season and shorten your berry supply chain! For information on local berry farms visit Tri-County Farm Fresh Produce.