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Letter: Berry buyers beware

“Just a blue haze,” is how John Gavin describes his Norway blueberry crop, the likes of which he’s never seen before.
Blueberries on the bush. — SaltWire Network file photo

As everyone knows here in Newfoundland and Labrador, late summer and early fall is prime time for berry pickers to make a few extra dollars through roadside sales of bakeapples, blueberries and partridgeberries; the last to harvest being the partridgeberries.

Bakeapples are probable the most expensive, sold by the pint, quart, or gallon, but because they have a tendency to settle pretty quickly in the bucket, what you thought was a gallon is now more like just over half a gallon, so the pound measurement is probably the fairest way for both the picker and customer.

Partridgeberries, on the other hand, are generally sold traditionally by the gallon, which everyone knows, unless you are retired school teacher, is 16 cups. If you are selling by the gallon, then that would be 16 cups, doesn't matter if it is a gallon of already eaten berries, a gallon of water or a gallon of lead, it still takes 16 cups to make up a gallon. An Imperial gallon of water is just over 10 lbs., mercury is 135 lbs.

So, to the point, if you are buying a gallon of berries from a roadside stand, or wherever, don’t take the vender’s word that there is a gallon in small beef bucket. Measure your berries to make sure that you are getting what the vender says you are getting. Many people are buying the standard beef bucket of berries by the roadside for a gallon, only to find out that they have bought 14 cups instead of 16 cups. This is a dishonest sales pitch by the pickers, and the unsuspecting buyers are being gipped.

So, know what you are buying, know that there are 16 cups to a gallon, measure, measure, measure. Now of course if the berries are being sold by weight instead of volume, and advertised accordingly, you know what you are getting .

I know this first hand. Just recently I bought ‘6 gallons’ of partridge berries from a retired school teacher, only to find out that there are only 14 cups in his gallon, but on questioning he did tell me that he ‘had heard about that somewhere’. His explanation, there’s five pounds in a gallon of partridge berries. NO, there is 16 cups to a gallon, which is closer to seven pounds per gallon.

This may sound trivial to some, but I don’t like being intentionally ripped off by someone who doesn’t know the difference between square volume and weight. So, buyer beware, and vender; be more up front with your customers. You will get more miles out of being fare than you will from trying to rip unsuspecting customers off.

Ray Hynes

Bristol’s Hope

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