August 2020 - 1
Cherry field day
takes virtual look at
Bob Hall is South
Carolina's grower of
forces growers to
August 2020 | Volume 59 |
Bullish on blueberries
Industry puts focus on sales potential
The Malensky family is heavily
involved in blueberry production.
From the back left, are Jaime
Petrjanos Malensky, Jeff Malensky,
Roy Malensky, Barb Malensky,
Brian Malensky and Meghan
Malensky. In the front from the
left are Andrew Malensky, Cooper
Malensky, Samantha Malensky
and Livi Malensky.
Photo: Oregon Berry Packing
By Stephen Kloosterman
Something about blueberries drives the
Jeff Malensky, newly-named chair of
the promotion committee for the U.S.
Highbush Blueberry Committee (USHBC),
says he's often noticed the phenomena:
Start talking about blueberries to
somebody, and they'll soon crack a smile.
And more than an
emotional reflex, or
a salesman's natural
enthusiasm for his
trade, a strong export
market and new
horizons in fruit
quality controls and
processing add up
well for U.S. blueberry
said. Those trends
really are something
growers can smile about.
USHBC board chair Chris Barnhill
said Malensky was the natural choice
to continue industry changes begun by
Bob Carini, the Michigan grower who
previously headed up the promotions
" Jeff brings a good energy of opportunity
and optimism to the position that we
need right now in the blueberry business, "
Barnhill said in a news release. " I have
been encouraged and excited about the
changes that have been underway. "
A growing success
Malensky has served on the promotions
committee for six years, in addition to
acting as chair of the Oregon Blueberry
Commission. But perhaps most
importantly, he comes with a storied family
history as a third-generation grower,
packer and processor.
" My grandparents were working at
a packing plant, and this is back in
the early 40s, and they just had gotten
married at that point, and at the packing
plant, it was a local one, the owner said,
'You know, we have plenty of fruit, but
we just can't source it. Why don't you
grow for us?' " Malensky said. The farm
was established in 1948, planting mostly
strawberries and blackberries and his
own parents took it over in the early 80s.
In 1992, they planted their first field with
blueberries, Duke-variety bushes.
Hillsboro, Oregon-based Oregon Berry
Packing now works with 15 other family
companies to meet its berry-packing
orders. Together, the group has about 800
acres of blueberries, 200 acres of black
raspberries, and 60 acres of strawberries.
Although they pack some frozen and
processed berries, the group has gravitated
more toward fresh sales.
Oregon's blueberry industry has
accelerated as growers in the state
record the highest average yields in
the country - routinely 20,000 lbs. per
acre, according to the Oregon Blueberry
Commission's website. Malensky said
the climate and land are well-suited for
production, with dry, sunny summers
that boost brix. Common varieties used
are Draper, Aurora and Liberty.
That first field of Duke blueberries
remains used for commercial production,
30 years after it was planted - it's one of
their best-yielding fields.
" Nearly 30 years after the fact, we're
still picking, " Malensky said. " In fact,
we're going to pick there Friday and it's
going to one of my Japanese customers. "
Malensky also serves as a member of
the Export Committee for USHBC and
on the Legislative Committee and the
Procurement Task Force for the North
American Blueberry Council.
Oregon Berry Packing's first fresh berry
See BLUEBERRIES, page 5
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of August 2020
August 2020 - 1
August 2020 - 2
August 2020 - 3
August 2020 - 4
August 2020 - 5
August 2020 - 6
August 2020 - 7
August 2020 - 8
August 2020 - 9
August 2020 - 10
August 2020 - 11
August 2020 - 12
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August 2020 - 14
August 2020 - 15
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August 2020 - 17
August 2020 - 18
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