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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Sixty acre crop of blueberries goes to charities


Farmer says they are no longer economically viable

A farmer is donating a crop of blueberries worth millions of pounds to charity.

Blairgowrie farmwer Peter Thompson says that market forces have devalued his 60 acres of crops by around £1m making them no longer profitable.

Instead he will donate the fruit to local charities and a food bank.

Scottish blueberries previously commanded a high price as they were ripe at a time of year when those produced in other countries were not ready for harvesting.

New varieties are now grown in places such as Peru and South Africa, meaning that advantage has been lost.

Thompson said: "They can grow them at any time of the year, so this special season that Scotland had has disappeared.

"Instead of the high price bit of the season, it's the low price bit of the season.

"The labour in these countries costs a tenth of what it costs here and we can't compete."

He added: "We've left it open to charities to come and have pick-your-own days, and the money goes to charity."

Hundreds of people took part in a recent open day. They gave a donation in return for the blueberries and raised £4,000.

Hannah Hamilton, who works for Stirling Community Food, said the project hoped to deliver the fruit to people who need it rather than it being wasted.

"They have quite a lot of queues out the door at the moment because everyone is struggling a little bit," she said.

"So this kind of thing becomes even more important, but one of their main aim is to reduce the waste."

She said blueberries were an "amazing" food, adding: "The more you can eat the better really.

"If people can't use them straight away they can make compote out of them they can freeze them.

"At Stirling Community Food they have a big freezer so none of the things we pick are going to waste.

"They are still perfect and there's just fields of them still left and you don't want them to just drop off and rot - that's just terrible."



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