Wish Farms' James Peterson Talks California Summer Berries and New Variety
PLANT CITY, FL - Wish Farms is following the sun with its berry program, currently in the midst of its summer program in California. The outlook is a path to increasing demand in the off months, premium flavor, and a steady market.
“We’ve had ideal weather during the planting season and expect a quality crop,” James Peterson, VP of Sales, shares, explaining California weather hasn’t dealt any blows to crop production or quality. “We began harvesting mid-August and will continue through November, projecting promotional volumes throughout September.”
In fact, James says the market’s steadiness at this time is better than he has seen in the last two years. As for the current crop, Wish Farms’ product includes both conventional and organic Monterey and Cabrillo strawberry varieties, which have higher brix and flavor profiles.
“Wish Farms is focused on flavor, and because of this, we have dedicated ourselves to growing only varieties that we would be willing to take home to our families,” he tells me, with a surprise up the team’s sleeve coming as soon as next year. “We are excited to release a new proprietary strawberry variety on a small scale with plans to ramp up in the 2020-2021 season. We made the decision a few years ago to discontinue select varieties from our program that do not meet our flavor standards. While high yield and shipability are desirable strawberry traits, we feel strongly that consumers will come back again and again for berries that taste good.”
He explains to me that strawberry demand tends to trend lower in September and October. The company believes there is a direct correlation between lower demand and strawberry varieties that lack flavor being grown in this time period.
“We hope by making growing decisions and varietal selections that focus on flavor, we can reverse this trend,” he concludes.
Wish Farms continues to invest in breeding and varietal trials across all growing regions. This coming Florida strawberry season, the company’s primary acreage will be dedicated to the consumer favorite Sweet Sensations. And with sibling varieties on the horizon that hold promise for equal popularity, the berry market seems to be in for some new trends in demand!