California Giant's Strawberry Season Surpasses Weather-Based Hurdles
OXNARD, CA – California has seen its share of weather over the course of the last month—with spring-like conditions punctuating some of the wettest weather in recent history. What does it all mean for strawberries, with growers making headway in the California season? I asked Cindy Jewell, Vice President of Marketing for California Giant Berry Farms, to fill us in.
“Strawberries seem to be hard to find right now,” Cindy says, noting that wet weather has delayed California Giant’s transition from production in Florida and Mexico to California. As of Thursday, February 23, Cindy noted: “Our growers have spent the last three or four days stripping off fruit, sending fruit of to the processor, and really just focusing on clean up.”
Waterlogged fields have prevented California Giant from harvesting fruit, but this week’s respite from wet weather, and warm, breezy weather on the horizon promise that supply will likely catch up to ample demand in the next month.
“Crews are in the fields focusing on clean up,” Cindy explains to me. “There’s plenty of green fruit and blossom, and with spring-like weather, light winds, temperatures in the 70s during the day and cool at night—fruit will come up really quickly with that kind of weather.”
Pricing and demand for California fruit has been increasing, and Cindy tells me she’s already fielding inquiries for fruit in April.
“Customers are already asking about Easter. We’re looking at getting back into regular harvesting in both Oxnard and Santa Maria next week, and by the week ending March 11, we’ll be getting into some pretty good numbers.”
In order to supplement production, California Giant has continued to harvest in Mexico and Florida, and Cindy tells me that the company has invested a lot of time, effort, and resources in providing good-sized, quality fruit as the climate in these regions becomes less conducive to growing.
With weather conditions becoming more amenable, strawberry aficionados can expect ample and exceptional California-grown fruit from California Giant in the next month. For more on the state of this and other produce markets, check in with us at AndNowUKnow.