California strawberry production to pick up later this month

From Fresh Plaza | 13 August 2023

Overview of strawberries from California in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on August 9, 2023. 

Strawberry supply out of California is seeing a slight gap in production right now. “It’s fairly light in relation to years past. This has not been your typical strawberry growing season, to say the least,” says Jim Grabowski of Well Pict.

Right now, strawberries are being picked in the Watsonville-Salinas region, and it’s believed that production should be picking back up by the middle to the third week in August. After that, it moves over to the fall crop out of Oxnard, California. “We’ll probably start walking the fields in the first week of September in Oxnard. That crop will then carry us through the late fall months into November, so in a few weeks, we’ll be back to somewhat normal,” he says.

strawberry volumes by or 1

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Firm demand in place

At the same time, it’s still summer, and the demand for strawberries is still good. “Though they aren’t just considered a summer fruit anymore with strong demand May through August,” says Grabowski. “We see strawberries in demand year-round, so it’s tough when you do have these gaps.”

That concern revolves around the strong pricing strawberries are seeing right now, and that has been in place for at least two weeks. That stronger pricing is also expected to stay that way for the next couple of weeks until the volume picks up again. “You don’t want to turn consumers off so that when you come back with a lower price, you may have lost them because of high pricing. Hopefully, we’ll get them back when the pricing goes down again,” says Grabowski.

That said, when supply does increase again and goes through the fall, it’s anticipated to be a good supply which in turn means there will also be plenty of promotions for retailers.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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