Episodes
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Bruce Popko, chief executive officer of Major League Pickleball. Popko discusses the growth of pickleball, the professional league that he leads, and why blueberries and pickleball belong on the same court together. The USHBC is thrilled to be one of the first sponsors of Major League Pickleball, joining...
Published 04/15/24
Published 04/15/24
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Steve Magami, co-founder and executive chair of AgroVision, a vertically integrated grower, packer, shipper and marketer of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and table grapes. Recently having celebrated its 10-year anniversary, Agrovision is one of the world’s fastest growing producers and year-round...
Published 04/08/24
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by David Jackson, founder of Family Tree Farms, alongside his sons and son-in-law. Today, they’re a family-owned fruit grower, packer and shipper based in Reedley, California, with additional locations in Peru, Mexico, and Africa. Jackson serves on the NABC Board of Directors and the United Blueberry...
Published 03/25/24
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Jorge Andres Varela, president of Agroberries. Agroberries is a vertically integrated berry producer and marketer with a large worldwide presence and a portfolio of exclusive proprietary genetic varieties. Varela discusses their expansion with Berry Fresh, a marketing arm in the Americas, as well as their...
Published 03/12/24
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Ryan Ellison, produce category manager at Food City, and Joshua Essenburg, category manager at SpartanNash. Both of these retailers participated in a panel at the Blueberry Summit in Savannah last fall where they discussed “Insights and Opportunities for Selling Fresh Blueberries in Retail.” Together,...
Published 02/24/24
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by USHBC Chair Shelly Hartmann. As lifelong residents of Southwest Michigan, Shelly and Dennis Hartmann are the owners of True Blue Farms in Grand Junction. Established in 1988, True Blue Farms has grown substantially to 10 subsidiaries, including hundreds of acres of production and the popular Blueberry...
Published 02/07/24
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Rachel Petraglia, culinary specialist for the fifth largest school nutrition program in the nation at the Georgia Department of Education. Petraglia spent almost 14 years working for the Gwinnett School Nutrition Program, developing recipes and menus for the district’s 182,000 students. While working for...
Published 01/26/24
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by David Krause, CEO of Frutura. Recently, this California-based fruit sales and marketing company announced it was acquiring two berry businesses: Sun Belle and Giddings Fruits. Before joining Frutura, Krause served as president of Wonderful Citrus, the largest integrated grower, packer and shipper of fresh...
Published 01/10/24
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Chelsea Consalo, vice president of operations for Consalo Family Farms in New Jersey, and Ellie Norris, owner/manager of Norris Blueberry Farms in Oregon. Consalo is a fourth-generation producer and serves on the New Jersey Blueberry Industry Advisory Council. Norris is a second-generation blueberry...
Published 12/27/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Chef Nate Weir, vice president of culinary at Modern Market Eatery and a champion of including blueberries on menus. After culinary school Weir worked in full-service, ingredient-driven restaurants in Boulder, and was the sous chef at Salt Bistro, 5280 Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant” in 2009. He joined...
Published 12/19/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by NABC Director of Government Affairs Alyssa Houtby. Houtby leads the NABC’s advocacy efforts and works closely with Monument Advocacy, the council’s Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm. She shares the current state of the Farm Bill and discusses what specialty producers have to look forward to. “We're...
Published 12/01/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by David Magaña of Rabobank, who is responsible for covering and analyzing the U.S. and North American fresh fruit and vegetable industries. Tune in to learn about what’s happening with blueberry supply and demand globally, trends in the fresh and frozen markets, and what Magaña sees as the drivers that will...
Published 11/14/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Andres Armstrong, executive director of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, to discuss the current season in Chile, the impact of the drop in Peruvian production and the future of blueberries in the region. Armstrong was also featured in episode 22, episode 75 and episode 134, as well as in several crop...
Published 11/07/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Lisa Wasko DeVetter, Ph.D., associate professor for small fruits at Washington State University’s (WSU) Mount Vernon Research Center. Since joining WSU in 2014, Devetter has developed a diverse research and extension program, with an emphasis on maximizing productivity, fruit quality and on-farm...
Published 10/30/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), recaps the recent Blueberry Summit held in Savannah, Georgia, and highlights a couple of award-winning industry leaders. In this episode, we share the acceptance speeches of Ridley Bell who received the Duke Galletta Award, and John Shelford who received the Alex Weatherbee Award, as well discussing the inaugural...
Published 10/24/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Kevin Hamilton, vice president of global marketing for USHBC. Hamilton has over 20 years of marketing experience with a number of brands and commodities, and is bringing that expertise to the blueberry industry. In this episode, Hamilton and Cronquist discuss the current state of blueberry marketing...
Published 10/06/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Lisa Coleman, director of healthy living for Giant Food, which includes 166 supermarkets in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington, D.C. As the leader of Giant's Healthy Living Team of credentialed nutrition professionals, Coleman helps guide an inclusive, all-foods-fit approach to educating and...
Published 10/02/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Ross Peterson, the newly appointed director of finance at USHBC. Peterson explains how the USHBC is funded, the assessment process and some changes that are underway.  “I get to hear life experiences. I get to hear how businesses are being run. It gives me a great insight as to what's happening in the...
Published 09/22/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Luis Vegas, general manager of Proarandanos, the Peruvian Blueberry Growers & Exporters Association. What started as a promising year for production in Peru has turned into an unpredictable reversal of forecasts. In this episode, we contextualize what’s happening there to better understand what this...
Published 09/15/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Rod Borden and Ben Bowditch of Lunds & Byerlys. Borden is the director of produce and Bowditch is the produce category manager for the grocery retailer that has 28 stores in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. Tune in to hear how National Blueberry Month and our power periods help keep blueberries...
Published 09/07/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Amanda Griffin, our VP of Industry Engagement and Education and Dr. Jennifer McEntire, founder of Food Safety Strategies.  Amanda is leading our BerrySmart platform and helping us better address and provide leadership and resources for issues like food safety within our industry. In her more than 20 years...
Published 08/28/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Peter McPherson, general manager, Berry Category International, for Costa Group. For the first time in four years, the International Blueberry Organization was able to bring together blueberry industry stakeholders from around the world for a summit recently. McPherson shares his insights and experiences...
Published 08/19/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by Brandon Casteel, SPINS vice president of channel and retail partnerships, and Joe Vargas, USHBC/NABC director of business intelligence. Last year's attitudes and usage study found that growers and retailers could benefit from more detailed blueberry sales information. This led USHBC to make the strategic...
Published 08/11/23
In this episode of “The Business of Blueberries,” host Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), is joined by two blueberry growers who are also members of our USHBC BerrySmart Technology Task Force: Paul Macrie of Macrie Bros. Blueberry Farms and Noel Sakuma of Sakuma Brothers. One of the highlights of The Blueberry Convention last February was showcasing the new technologies being developed for blueberry...
Published 08/04/23