How did California’s wet winter impact Florida strawberries?

From Fresh Plaza | 14 March 2023

Overview of strawberries from California and Florida in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on March 13, 2023. 

The strong supplies of Florida strawberries could slow down soon. “It has been a good high-priced season until about when the Valentine’s Day pull ends around February 9-10. Then the brakes hit just as the volume comes up. However that happens every year, though it’s worse when California is in the mix,” says Gary Guynn of Guynn Family Produce Sales Inc. Strawberries of course are a popular Valentine’s Day item and an event retailers often offer ads for around strawberries.

The good Florida supplies have helped the state’s growers and shipper cover regions such as Texas, an area it doesn’t typically cover because of California weather impacting strawberry volumes there. “A few weeks back, we did do our first load to Los Angeles. We would have thought there would have been more demand for our product but I think the retail pricing is too high across the board, especially after Valentine’s,” says Guynn.

strawberry volumes by or 3

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

The effect of the snow

Add to this the weather in the midwest also affecting demand. “When the storms hit, retailers pull orders because they’re not selling as much. People aren’t getting out with the weather to buy strawberries or anything else,” he says.

Meanwhile, Guynn notes that with Florida’s warmth and heavy strawberry volumes, it makes for long days for the product and bruising can become an issue at this time of year. “There have been rejections though it’s frustrating because there are multiple times when there are five or six growers on a semi and they only check a few boxes. If it’s not up to spec, they put it back on the truck and as a handler, not all growers are packing bad product,” he says.

That said, once this flush of supply is through, there aren’t a lot of blooms left on the bushes and for Guynn Family Produce, its spring vegetable crops are coming in behind the berries. “So the volume is really going to shut down probably mid to late this week for us. That will help things,” Guynn says.

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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