Naturipe Farms' Kyla Oberman, Well•Pict Berries' Dan Crowley, and California Giant Berry Farms' Cindy Jewell Report Strong Strawberry Outlook
CALIFORNIA - Coming off of some late spring rains in California and the recent Mother’s Day push for those fresh chocolate-covered strawberries, I checked in with growers to see how the season is looking as we approach Summer.
“Everything is looking good! Production continues to increase as Santa Maria will hit its "peak volume" of the season now through the next 2 to 3 weeks,” Naturipe Farms’ Director of Marketing, Kyla Oberman, shares with me, adding that there is plenty of promotable volume with both good quality and sizing.
Moving through to summer, Kyla says, “Salinas and Watsonville, CA, will steadily increase in production now through mid-June.”
Just before Mother’s Day, California saw rain throughout several regions of the state.
Dan Crowley, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Well•Pict Berries, tells me, however, that the rain event was negligible in the company’s Watsonville and Salinas, CA, growing areas.
“Amounts ranged from traces on our inland farms to 0.25 inches on our acreage by the ocean,” Dan says. “We are experiencing no damage on our inland farms, but 20-30% "cull rate" on the aforementioned coastal farms for the first round of harvest.”
As for the berries themselves, Dan reports that the flavor profile is outstanding on Well•Pict’s proprietary varieties, making it a challenge to keep up with demand.
“The volume shall continue to ramp up in Watsonville, CA, with plenty availability through May and into the Summertime for promotions,” he says moving forward.
And also under way are Well•Pict’s raspberries, which Dan says are looking excellent.
“We will have that excellent product to offer on promotions right along with the strawberries throughout the Summer.”
Cindy Jewell, Vice President of Marketing for California Giant Berry Farms, tells me that the company is expecting its Watsonville/Salinas supply to continue to increase as soon as warmer weather kicks in.
“We did have some rain last weekend and it has been cool and overcast all week this week, which has slowed things down in this region. The plants are loaded with fruit and bloom so, as soon as the weather breaks, volume will increase for the next several weeks and we should see that continue through June.”
Santa Maria is in peak volume now, Cindy says, with harvest in the region continuing and weather being a bit more cooperative. She adds that slight declines can be expected in volume over the next several weeks, but that demand from California Giant’s trading partners has been steady with many retail and foodservice promotions in place.
“We do also anticipate demand to be increasing as we approach the pull for Memorial Day right around the corner, and are already seeing a shift in demand this week.”
With everything lined up for Summer’s arrival, AndNowUKnow will continue to follow the latest in berry news throughout the season and beyond.