Wish Farms' James Peterson Shares Strawberry Market Update and Outlook
PLANT CITY, FL - Whether it be Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or any of the celebratory days in between, late spring and summer have historically been the time when both production and demand for strawberries ramps up. As the season gets underway, I spoke with James Peterson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Wish Farms, to get vital insights into what the buy-side can expect during this prime promotional period.
“We do see, as an industry, both Santa Maria and Salinas, California, reaching their peak volume in early to mid-June, so that will probably be the best time for suppliers and buyers to promote the category,” explains James.
Due to a streak of cold weather earlier in the strawberry season, the category saw a dip in volume that created a slow start for growers like Wish Farms. However, as the weather in popular California growing regions begins to stabilize, crops are expected to pick up.
“We're living in a high-demand period, with fewer people traveling and more shoppers consuming produce at home. The demand has been sky high, and we have been working to strengthen our supply in response,” James tells me. “But, we are starting to see it shift now. There are better volumes being picked in all of our California growing regions: Oxnard, Santa Maria, and Salinas.”
Despite volume being lower, quality has remained high for Wish Farms. With mild weather continuing and expected to remain throughout the season, the berry maven is producing excellently flavored berries with a high brix level for that signature sweet strawberry taste that consumers love.
As the strawberry volumes continue to transition, James tells me to expect the market to remain in flux as buyers are able to begin increasing their stock of the berries on the shelves.
For retailers starting to plan out their merchandising tactics for the season, James has one final piece of advice: trust that the supply is there.
As things begin to pick up, buyers need not hesitate when it comes to getting strawberries on the shelves in order to boost summertime sales—I know I can’t wait to add some of the beautifully ripened berries to my basket, and neither can your shoppers!