President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves Aid for California; Briana Giampaoli and Michelle Deleissegues Comment
WASHINGTON - For the past few weeks, California has seen a surge of storms. With infrastructure struggling to keep up with the effects of the storm, President Biden declared federal disaster assistance to the state. As we covered in a past story, California's growers are working tirelessly to ensure their outlooks account for this influx of rain and that customers' orders continue to be fulfilled.
Outside of this declaration, we wanted to check in with growers to see how their operations have fared so far and what measures are in place to mitigate any damages.
“California is receiving the much-needed rainfall to help with our current drought situation, with, on average, 13 inches of rain in the Central Valley in December and January alone,” remarked Briana Giampaoli of Live Oak Farms. “With this has come devastation in specific locations throughout the state. Rest assured, Live Oak is still pushing forward with our 2023 plans and has not experienced extreme conditions that would halt or delay production. It has been some years since California soils have felt heavy rainfall, but it is not uncommon. With action plans for wet conditions, Live Oak stays prepared in our growing areas throughout the state.”
It is heartening to hear words like this from such a well-respected supplier. Water is welcome here in the state of California, and retailers should know that suppliers here are working hard to ensure their programs remain hearty.
According to a press release sent in from FEMA, the President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Merced, Sacramento, and Santa Cruz.
Additionally, Gem-Pack shared its most recent operational updates as the company continues to keep its standards and expectations high.
"The past two weeks have been a trial-by-water, but overall Gem-Pack Berries has survived well," Michelle Deleissegues, Vice President of Marketing, revealed to us. "Although a few of our growers do have damage and we are helping them access their recovery needs, the majority of our growers and fields are undamaged. Gem-Pack’s largest cultivation areas are in southern districts that received less rain and little damage to crops. We are picking and shipping as I write. Gem-Pack CEO Mike Etchandy, was out surveying all districts last week, and our solidarity and support goes out to those who have suffered damage at home or in the field."
We continue to keep in our thoughts those affected by the storms, and will continue to report any updates.