Members of the U.S. fruit industry placed their bets with an early guesstimate of the 2009 crop.

The 54th annual Fruit Crop Guesstimate was June 17 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Industry members may not have been actually betting, but they were putting in their best guesses.

"The actual 2008 North American crop was within 1% of our estimate last year, with some regions doing more and some doing less than estimated," said Frank Bragg, chief executive officer of Grand Junction-based MBG Marketing and the presenter of the 2009 blueberry crop estimate.

Bragg said fresh U.S. blueberry production should be 234 million pounds, 14% more than 2008 production. The Great Lakes region, however, may be down 20% from the year before, mostly in processed volume, he said.

The apple crop was presented in total volume, fresh and processed.

  • Washington estimates 138 million bushels;

  • New York estimates 29.5 million bushels;

  • Michigan estimates 23 million bushels;

  • Pennsylvania estimates 10.3 million bushels

  • California estimates 8 million bushels; and

  • Virginia estimates 5.5 million bushels.

The total Guesstimate for the U.S. was 247.5 million bushels of fresh and processed apples.

"That's about 8% or 9% over 2008," said Denise Donohue, executive director of the DeWitt-based Michigan Apple Committee. Donohue prepared the Michigan estimate for the event.

The grape estimate was given for Michigan only. The state is predicted to produce 59,000 tons of concord grapes and 25,000 tons of Niagara.

Peach and cherry guesstimates were for processed production only. The event is sponsored by the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association.