Gary Wishnatzki and Michelle Deleissegues Weigh In on the Strawberry Market
NORTH AMERICA - This unseasonably warm weather has strawberries ahead of schedule, with little need to compromise between quality and quantity for the remainder of the season.
According to sources in both Florida and California, strawberries are seeing a strong crop that is providing healthy volume.
In Florida and Mexico, where the weather has been a step ahead of the West Coast, the crop saw a strong peak early this year, according to Gary Wishnatzki, Owner of Wish Farms.
“I would say we probably saw our strawberry peak earlier February,” Gary tells me, explaining that the season would normally peak later in February or March, but was a bit ahead of schedule due to warmer conditions. “Some growers are starting to transition to the freezer, or to spring melon, or vegetable crops, as the earlier strawberry varieties wind down in Florida.”
Across the country at Red Blossom in California, Michelle Deleissegues, Director of Marketing, confirmed that they, too, have wrapped up a very strong season further south. After having seen excellent quality all year in Zamora, Mexico, the company reportedly finished shipping strawberries from this location Monday, March 9. Blackberries, however, will continue through June 10.
The more southern regions are waning just in time for California’s season to hit a peak that Red Blossom is excited about, stating the berries are some of the best quality the company has seen in years.
“The fields look amazingly good, excellent plant health,” Michelle tells me. “We are starting early and volume will ramp up very quickly.”
The warmer weather continues to push growth slightly ahead of the usual schedule.
“Santa Maria’s not too much earlier, the timing is just a little ahead for early volume due to great growing conditions,” Michelle said.
While we are approaching the final push of the strawberry season, reports from all sides are that it should be a strong one, especially when the weather facilitates demand.
“As it warms up, we’ll probably see a growing demand,” Gary tells me. “When it is snowing outside, people want soup, not strawberries.”
Numbers on the buy-side of the market could also affect demand, along with a big holiday push. According to Gary, Easter is a big time for strawberries and the industry will see a big push for them the week before the holiday. So get ready!