South Haven farmers welcome blueberry bumper crop


SOUTH HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Farmers preparing for the National Blueberry Festival in South Haven may have something else to celebrate this year: a potentially record-setting crop.

DeGrandchamp Farms is one of the suppliers for the event and is seeing a plentiful yield with just over half of its berries harvested.

Co-owner Joe DeGrandchamp says better weather and pollination helped the blueberry crop thrive.

“I would expect that, if it’s not our best yield, it’s gonna rank right up there with No. 1,” DeGrandchamp said.

While the rain hurt other crops in West Michigan this spring, it benefited blueberries.

“This year we had a cool, wet, very wet spring, and so it delayed us enough that when the weather changed, the bees were ready to go and we had just an explosion of bloom,” said DeGrandchamp.

This year’s harvest is the exact opposite of what farmers saw last year throughout the South Haven area.

“Last year was dismal. Rough was an understatement,” DeGrandchamp said. “We had the poorest pollination I think we’ve ever had.”

The farm is donating blueberries to several events at the festival and will also be selling freshly picked berries to spectators. Runners in the 5K will get to take home some DeGrandchamp berries and people attending the Rotary Club pancake breakfast at the airport Sunday morning will sample them right off the griddle.

“South Haven is very community-oriented and so we like to give back to the community because they support us as well,” DeGrandchamp said.

The National Blueberry Festival kicks off Thursday in South Haven.

For a complete schedule of events, visit the National Blueberry Festival website.

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