Well•Pict's Dan Crowley Discusses California Strawberries and Raspberries
OXNARD, CA – There’s a sensational season ahead for strawberry and raspberry lovers. As consumers look to this time-honored berry to kick up the flavor of their spring and summer-themed dishes, retailers have no further to look than the bumper crop for red berries coming out of California.
As Vice President of Sales Dan Crowley recently told me, Well•Pict is well underway with premium California strawberries, with raspberries just beginning to swing into production as well.
“Strawberries and raspberries are coming on big time this year,” Dan tells me. “This year, retailers are going to see a bigger volume and better quality coming out of California due to favorable growing conditions.”
Well•Pict started out its strawberry season in Oxnard, which has recently completed its crop. With Oxnard berries being transitioned to processing, growing regions to the North in Watsonville and Santa Maria are marking an increase in production this week moving forward. Dan says Watsonville will see its heaviest volumes of production the last week of May through the first week of June, with Santa Maria in peak production right now.
The company also just started raspberry production out of Watsonville. Dan expects raspberries to ramp up very quickly over the next weeks and continue through Summer into Fall.
“Drought conditions can mean a build up of salt in the soil, but this season’s heavy rains leeched most of that salt out of the ground, making for prime growing conditions, which equate to crop quality,” Dan continues. “The fruit load is amazing, and quality is incredible.”
The strawberry crop has been prolific since right after Easter, Dan says, as supply exceeded demand and movement slowed down. Now that demand has picked up, a strong market is on the way with ample supplies for Springtide holidays.
“Summer time is strawberry time. By placing orders now, retailers can be set for Memorial Day promotions all the way through the Summer,” Dan tells me. “Well•Pict expects production to steadily increase over the next couple months in the Northern district, which will only add to the quality selection for consumers this year.”
In addition to seeing an increase to its quality and supply this season, Well•Pict is also boasting an increased pack size. As retailers experiment with different methods to further engage their consumers, Well•Pict is offering more 2 lb strawberries and 12 oz raspberries in addition to its traditional packaging.
“Everybody is trying a slightly different approach to merchandising this season, as consumers are upping their interest in all things berries,” Dan says. “We’re here to help serve up the ‘wow factor’ and secure those impulse purchases.”
As California berries continue to drive traffic to the produce department, AndNowUKnow will keep a close eye on the crop this season.