We have continued to experience adverse weather in almost all strawberry growing regions. You all know about the issues in Watsonville & Salinas with acreage affected by flooding. We are keeping our fields clean and as dry as possible while looking ahead at a long strawberry season once this ongoing rainy weather pattern decides to move on. The whole state is tracking about a month behind normal strawberry volume. (see summary below from CSC Pink sheet)
The good news is, as the days continue to get longer with the first day of Spring arriving (hopefully) Monday, March 20th, and temperatures warm up, our plants will rebound and volume will increase.
Oxnard: We are continuing to harvest in this region as the rain dissipates, but are seeing damage with lost fruit and have rain in the forecast for early next week. We look forward to Spring setting in as we get further into March, but expect volume to be tight into April. We are 3-4 weeks behind our normal peak season pattern so we expect Oxnard to harvest fresh berries well beyond Mother’s Day this year. The fruit looks great with good color, size and firmness. We are diligent about keeping best quality in the pack and look forward to volume increasing over the next few weeks.
Coachella: This region has received less rain than our other two, but cooler temperatures have kept weekly volume increases at a much slower pace than usual. These fields look great, fruit is excellent, and this southern region really helps with our overall early volume out of California.
Santa Maria: This region is behind normal as well. We estimate that overall we are about a month behind schedule on beginning our season here. The plants are healthy here on the west side of town, but it has been cold and we have received a lot of rain so they are getting quite a slow start.
California Strawberry Industry Update on statewide volume: According to the Commission Pink Sheet dated 3/11, total statewide cumulative volume is at 4.7 million trays, which compares to 11.3 million same time last year. Last year the state begin shipping over 1 million trays of strawberries per week starting in mid-February. This year, we just hit 1 million trays a week – week ending 3/11. This shows overall we are a month behind schedule in looking at numbers to date.
We look forward to Viva Fresh !