Berries beat peaches as Ga.'s top-selling fruit

Published On: Jun 23 2012 07:29:18 AM EDT
ATLANTA -

Though Georgia is known for its peaches, blueberries have mounted a challenge in recent years and have quietly overtaken the peach as the state's top-selling fruit crop.

Blueberry sales are five times what they were in 2003. Meanwhile, peach sales are basically flat, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported ( http://bit.ly/LaBNMT).

In 2010, blueberries brought in $133 million vs. $47 million for peaches, figures from the University of Georgia show.

A decade ago, Georgia tallied 8,000 acres of blueberries. Today, it has more than 19,000.

Peach acres dropped from 16,000 to 12,000 during that period.

"It's blueberry's moment in the sun," said Scott NeSmith, the University of Georgia's blueberry specialist. "The peach market has matured."

But peach advocates say the development won't threaten Georgia's motto of "The Peach State."

"There's nothing as sweet as a Georgia peach, not even a little old blueberry," said Perry Swanson, president of the Peach County Chamber of Commerce. "Besides, would people say, 'That girl's as pretty as a Georgia blueberry?'"