If blueberries have seemed expensive this week — you’re right.

The family favourite has been surging in price around the nation, including in Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia where a single punnet costs $20.

ABC Landline knows of blueberry punnets selling for $16 at some independent stores in Sydney, $15 in Karratha, $13 in Mt Gambier, and were missing from major supermarket shelves in Darwin this week. 

In Alice Springs, blueberries were selling in Woolworths for $9.50 a punnet, with the supermarket attaching an explainer on why the berries were so expensive.

“As the growing season for blueberries transitions between regions, we are seeing a natural gap in supply,” it said.

“There will be limited availability in stores until mid-June.”

Michael Simonetta expects blueberry prices to return to normal in the coming weeks.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)

The chief executive of Perfection Fresh, Michael Simonetta, said there were a combination of factors driving prices up including the weather.

“We are transitioning from the southern production states like Tasmania [ending their harvest] to the northern regions [starting harvest], and those areas in the north like Bundaberg and the Sunshine Coast have been a little cooler than average and the crop maturity this year is behind,” he said.

“So prices at the moment are a little bit inflated and will continue that way for another two to three weeks before we see a reduction to more normal pricing.”

Coles warning of pending strawberry shortages.(ABC Rural: Jennifer Nichols)

Strawberry price spike on its way

Meanwhile, strawberry lovers are paying around $6 a punnet in many parts of Australia and have been told to expect prices to go higher in the coming weeks.

Queensland supplies most of Australia’s winter strawberries and a shortage of plants due to months of rain and soil-borne disease has set back production.

“It’s been one of the wettest starts to the season that anyone can remember, not so much the volumes of rain but certainly consistent, persistent rain,” Queensland Strawberry Growers Association president Adrian Schultz said. 

Queensland Strawberry Growers Association president Adrian Schultz says it has been a slow start to the season.(ABC Rural: Melanie Groves)

“That has led to some disease issues, the propagators have struggled again this year, and a lot of plants have turned up late.”

Mr Schultz said the delays would impact prices in the short term, particularly after production finished up in Victoria.

“I think you’ll see prices spike quite dramatically and, unfortunately, it’s probably going to stay like that for a little while until the normal cycle comes back in,” he said.

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