Southern California Update
We are enjoying Spring weather here in Oxnard and so are our strawberries. The fruit looks and tastes great as we slowly make our way to peak season here in this district. We have included a couple of photos from our inspection this morning and you can see that size and color are very good. Firmness and flavor is excellent and shoppers are sending us positive feedback through our website contact page. Volume is expected to ramp up over the next three weeks leading us right into Easter. We are expecting a chance of showers on Monday, but it will be welcome rain and have no impact on our harvest schedule.
Although it may seem like we are getting a slow start this year, the total volume coming out of California is actually ahead of last year. In reviewing the California Strawberry Commission Pink Sheet, YTD statewide volume is ahead by almost four million trays compared to last year.
Santa Maria Update
Like Oxnard, we are enjoying warm and sunny weather here with mild evening temperatures and the plants are responding very well. Numbers in this district will continue to inch up as we get closer to Easter and then continue to rise in weekly numbers throughout April. Our organic fruit is also increasing in volume each week as we approach those April and May mild springtime temperatures. We are expecting mild daytime temps in the high 60’s next week with nigt time temps hovering in the mid to high 40’s. Perfect for growing berries.
We always enjoy reading the Packer Fresh Trends report and seeing how we rank with consumers. We were not disappointed this year when seeing where we rank in the Top 20. Additionally, we learned that while other habits formed during the pandemic (such as online ordering, curbside pickup and home delivery for groceries and fresh items) are clearly here to stay, the survey found that these behaviors have lessened since 2021. Of those who said they had discontinued using online shopping, most (47%) cited their desire to be able to touch and smell produce themselves as the reason for going back to in-person shopping. All the more reason to make sure berry displays are prominent and full to draw shoppers into the produce department building on sales.