Organic Morning Farm Blueberry Lands in Japan
Vinyl Greenhouse Cultivation
Best Quality and Safety
JAS Certification: an Eco-Friendly Organic Agriproduct Certificate
Korea’s blueberry industry is growing by the day. Although the perennial plant originates from North America, the Korean climate matches it well, and these days the blueberry is rapidly taking up cultivation acreage. Just a decade ago, many Koreans were totally unfamiliar with the fruit. Introduced in the early 2000s, some pioneering farmers started commercial farming of the blueberry and since then the cultivation area has been increasing: 112ha in 2007, 217ha in 2008, 313ha in 2009, and 534ha in 2010. This year, the cultivation area is estimated at 1082ha, doubling that of the last year, and it is projected to continue expanding. In step with this upswing in the acreage, consumers’ interest in the novel fruit is soaring and so is the consumption.
In terms of size of cultivation area, Jeollabuk-do dominates with acreage of 254ha as of April, 2011. It is followed by Chungcheongnam-do (186ha), Jeollanam-do (169ha), Gyeongsangbuk-do (157ha), Chungcheongbuk-do (118ha), Gyeonggi-do (90ha), Gyeongsangnam-do (58ha), Gangwon-do (47ha), and Jeju-do (4ha). As these figures show, the berry cultivation is concentrated in the central and southern regions where, compared to other areas, the climate is relatively mild.
Yang Jae-young in the Vanguard of Korea’s Blueberry Industry
Yang Jae-young is among the leaders of the Korean blueberry industry. He’s been growing the fruit plants since 2005 and set up his own company, EZ International, in Jeongup in Jeollabuk-do. He has just a little experience farming the fruit but now engages in every stage along the way: producing the berries, selling the seedlings, training blueberry farmers in their cultivation, distribution, and even organizing exports to Japan.
His success may be attributed to various experiences he accumulated when working in the agriproduct distribution business. Before jumping into blueberry farming, he exported large quantities of tomatoes to Japan through contract cultivation with a number of tomato farms. Trying to figure out which agriproducts could become the next high value-added sellers, he came across the dark blue fruit. But the blueberry was an unfamiliar fruit to most Korean consumers when he decided to start cultivating the fruit plants.
Mr. Yang said that the blueberry is in fact a functional fruit receiving attention in several areas. This includes medical circles that would like to prove its benefits. The CEO is currently focusing solely on blueberry farming using all his know-how of agriproduct production and distribution.
All of his blueberry farms are equipped with vinyl greenhouses. The total size of the area has already reached 76,000㎡. Still, there are plans for further expansion of cultivation acreage.
Mixed Cultivation of Some Varieties Makes Extended Harvest Possible
Mr. Yang always thinks that his products have to compete in the global market as well as domestically. That is why has been single-mindedly pursuing food safety and high quality. It’s also why he installed vinyl houses. Utilizing all his export knowledge, he was able to pioneer into the Japanese market from the early stages of the endeavor.
To stand out in terms of quality, Mr. Yang opted for an organic farming method. His company acquired an eco-friendly organic agriproduct certification from the Korean government as well as JAS organic product certification from the Japanese.
Deciding on a catchy brand name was also important part for his berry business. Currently, the blueberry is selling in Korea and being exported to Japan under the brand name of “Morning Farm Blueberry.”
A clever cultivation method in which the high-bush and rabbit-eye varieties are cultivated together is employed so that the blueberry can be picked for as long as six months (from late March to early September.) In addition, a thorough post-harvest management system also contributes to the company’s prosperity in the blueberry business. The blueberries are gathered immediately after being picked, sorted by hand at low-temperature sorting houses, and distributed in a low-temperature system.
Mr. Yang stressed that his company is now trying to increase the blueberry yield by systemizing all related parts - consolidating cooperation with nearby blueberry farms, educating farmers on the cultivation technology and sharing the cultivation knowhow. He is confident that they will continue to produce high-quality, safe blueberries.
Inquiries EZ International Tel +82-10-5186-9806 E-mail email@example.com
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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