My Blueberry Days!

One of the most popular movies in Asia in the last decade was a film by director Kar Wai Wong called “My Blueberry Nights.”   The plot: a young woman (Nora Jones) takes a soul-searching journey across America to resolve her questions about love while encountering a series of offbeat characters along the way.  A visit to a diner for late night blueberry pie somehow made it to the movie title.

Here we have My Blueberry Days.

This is the USHBC advertisement in the popular woman’s magazine Frau.   The advertorial features our spokes model and beauty adviser Jiro Yamada in her own home in real life.   Jiro gives beauty from within advice with fresh blueberries!  Frau is one of the most highly-read women’s magazines in Japan and this endorsement will positions blueberries right where we want it!

Introducing “Blue-Me” Korean Mascot

At last — we have mascot!!!   The cute mascot, which was selected in the Mascot Mania competition last year (70 entries) was unveiled at the USHBC Fresh Blueberry Seminar in Seoul June 17.

The mascot will appear at in-store events (fresh blueberry promotions)  throughout Korea in July and August and will also be the focal point of a mascot photo contest!   (photo: L. Kristie Park (Korea Business Services Inc., Blue-Me (USHBC-Korea), Hyewon Shin (Korea Business Services Inc.)

Note the Blue-Me smart phone ap on Hyewon’s phone!

USHBC Launches Korea Fresh Campaign

This is year three of the USHBC Fresh Blueberry Campaign in South Korea. (June 17, 2015)

A key component: the kickoff seminar.  Here, we bring together importers, distributors and retailers as well as our marketing partners Korea Business Services Inc. who are conducting fresh promotions and public relations.    This year we featured a Skype presentation by Dr. Wei Yang of Oregon State University and attendees appreciated the high level of knowledge gained at the half day conference.  Attendees were amazed at the amount of investment that it takes to grow blueberries and especially the focus on quality and food safety.


Former OSU Beaver to the Rescue in Taiwan!

I was told by my buddies in Oregon that you can always count on a Beaver!   Now we have a true Orange and Black treasure working for USHBC in Taiwan.   Sus-Sun (Susan) Wong is a retired government official from the Taiwan Plant Protection Center (PPC) which is the organization that works on all things MRL.   She is now working to raise the near zero MRL for malathion and serve as an industry resource.    She is the one to call! You can always count on a Beaver!    She is looking to connect with fellow “blueberry beavers .”

PS: According to Sue Sun, there are more than 300 OSU Beavers on this island of 20 million.   That is one of the largest beaver per capital populations West of Corvallis!   Stay tuned for results!


Blueberry soju

National TV ad

Anyone who has visited Korea will remember their first sip of Korean Soju .   This is a fermented beverage made with rice or sweet potato.   It is extremely popular all over Asia.  My first try was on a visit to a local blueberry farm a decade ago and the growers were fermenting their soju in pots in the ground.   Soju  (소주) is a sake like beverage but made with a fermented sweet potato.  Here is the latest development – a commercial soju brewed with blueberry juice.     The yellow is a Korean called Yuza (citron) citrus and red a pomegranate.

Enjoy your blueberry soju!   (Update: The Blueberry Soju immediately sold out in blueberry-crazed Korea).  Note most customers are young ladies aged 20-30.

Say “Eh!” BC Blueberries to China

Jason — This ones for you!

They shoot…they score!   Break out the “Bloody Ceasers” as this is a big big deal!    After eight years of work, the British Columbia Blueberry Council (BCBC) has achieved market access for fresh BC blueberries to the People’s Republic of China.   It was a great “tag-team” effort with tremendous political and technical support by the government of Canada.   This is a win-win proposition for China and will supply empty market windows for fresh blueberries.   Team Blueberry-USA continues to hammer out “shots on goal” with an all out effort to join our North American partners in the 1.3 billion population market.   It’s “aboot” time!

Fresh Blueberry Cosmetics

Korea is beauty  crazy and blueberry crazy!   Walking around town, I saw dozens o natural cosmetic shows including Skin Food which is a Korean produced product.  I noticed that almost all visitors to Korea tote with bundles of Skin Food for the ride home!  Korea is home to the whole “beauty from within” concept and it continues to grow!

British-made Lush cosmetics are a big deal inn Korea!

Blueberries for Vietnam!

It has been more than 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War and only ten years since the opening of trade between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.  Trade relations opened trade in 2001!
Now we see one of the most USA friendly countries in the region.   A new generation of consumers are exposed to information on blueberries and health and beauty in newspapers and magazines and foreign travel and exchange with the huge diaspora in the USA.

USHBC participated in the 2015 Food and Hotel Vietnam Exhibition in April 2015 in Ho Chi Minh City (Formerly Saigon) , and we were amazed at the interest:

  • (Ultra-high-end) Supermarkets were stocked with fresh blueberries from the USA.
  • Products with blueberries including yogurts, beverages and dried blueberries were produced by large modern food manufacturing companies.
  • Small amounts of fresh blueberries were also grown in the Đà Lạt highlands for local consumption but currently fresh blueberries are restricted from the Vietnam market but the North American Blueberry Council (NABC) and US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) are working with the US Department of Agriculture for market access.

Demand Determinants:

  • Vietnamese consider blueberries to be a beauty aid.   The concept of “Beauty from Within” is traditional in this culture and items like mulberries, and blueberries are considered to be good for the skincare.
  • Vietnam is connected commercially and culturally to the rest of the Southeast Asian markets such as Singapore where blueberries are readily available and appreciated.    Media continually features blueberries in beauty magazines, television programs and newspaper accounts.
  • Vietnam is a major sugar producing country and manufacturers are churning our jams, jellies and sauces for the domestic and export markets.

We are confident that this will become a multi-million lb. fresh market in the future and a significant user of frozen and dried.

Here are just a few images of Vietnam!

Here is the produce section of the grocery store.
Here are the two beautiful young ladies working in our booth. Both speak perfect English, are training for work in the hospitality (Hotel) business and both love blueberries! Ask they why and they will point to completion!
From a commercial standpoint, the Vietnamese are pros. Here is a discussion on dried blueberries in the Oregon Blueberry Booth.
Here is a Giant (French Owned) Supermarket in District 7 of HCM City. This was in the basement of a multi-story shopping mall which would rival any USA high end shopping center.
In the past, Vietnamese were surrounded with "progress" posters and other propaganda with workers pointing to the new beginning. Here is a poster of the new "happy family" on the escalator heading to the Giant store.
Here is an example of locally produced blueberry containing products. Note the label: Pro Beauty!

Move over Mango — here comes Blueberry Lassi

Mango Lassi is one of the most popular beverages in India.  (like a  yogurt based smoothie!) Check out the blueberry found in an Indian restaurant in Seoul, South Korea! The waiter says it is one the top items on the menu.

USHBC Chairperson Parm Bains, checks out the real blueberry lassi

Here’s to Healthy Blueberry — Hong Kong

I once met a veterinarian from Canada who told me how freeze dried blueberry powder was used in horse racing and cutting horse feeds.   On an unrelated discovery — check out the popular race horse Healthy Blueberry which has been a fan favorite at the Jockey Club Race Track at Happy Valley Hong Kong.  According to the local raisin form, this popular gelding was born on August 29, 2006 in Bahrain (Middle East).   Healthy Blueberry had a record of 4 wins in 61 starts — which is pretty good! This has garnered almost $3.5 million USD in prize money.   We wish Healthy Blueberry a wonderful retirement and long healthy life!

Hello from the “Garden State”

New Jersey is the home of highbush blueberry cultivation.   Check out our tabletop booth at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Somerset (North Jersey).   Local food processors are getting excited about the upcoming Centennial.

New Product – Blueberry Seeds

Check out what I saw at the recent New York/New Jersey Institute of Food Technologists exhibition. Blueberries have a very small seed and this is also pressed for an oil and milled to make a powder. The applications: seem to be many including natural cosmetics and health foods and supplements.

Fruitsmart Blueberry Seed Oil
Fruitsmart Blueberry Seed Powder
Fruitsmart Blueberry Seeds

Mascot Mania – Korea

From the “land of the morning calm” — by popular demand — here is a short video on our Mascot Contest!   70 designers – 70 mascots and one winner!   Tell us what you think!