Audrey Saunders and Jeff Curran studied the prospects for growing and marketing blueberries in Uruguay as part of an independent study project sponsored by the Berry Center.
Blueberry Study in Uruguay
Deep in the throes of an Iowa winter, thoughts turn to sunny climes...and blueberries. That's the situation at least for Jeff Curran and Audrey Saunders who spent part of February in Uruguay developing a case study on a budding commercial blueberry venture.
Cornell President Les Garner joined them in Uruguay and is serving as their advisor as they get straight to the heart of the economic and political factors that shape the business of blueberries, from growing to marketing to exporting.
The students submitted blogs from Uruguay -- here is an excerpt from Jeff's blog:
Today we got a firsthand look at the production side of the equation. We visited with Jorge, the first blueberry grower in Uruguay and the person who came to Pablo with the idea of a commercial blueberry farm. He showed us two of the main farms, the plant growing and cultivation processes, some major problems they have encountered, the irrigation system, and the packaging house. At the farms we discussed the differences in breeds of blueberries and the different advantages to certain plants. We also talked about the harvesting and pruning techniques to insure a good product. It quickly became apparent that this was not a job for a novice and that a lot of expertise was involved...
I am starting to really appreciate what an extraordinary opportunity this is. The chance to gain real world knowledge from Pablo is invaluable. He has such an entrepreneurial mind and has a great grasp of finance, politics, history, culture and the interplay between the four. President and Mrs. Garner have had such exciting and interesting lives. They provide insights I could not find other places and have experiences few can top. It has been great to get to know them better on this trip. It isn’t very often that students can have such direct and prolonged contact with the president of their college.