Overview of strawberries from California in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on September 18, 2023.
He notes that strawberry supplies do look comparable to this time last year. Right now, berries are coming from Watsonville-Salinas as it’s still producing, although it is winding down its season. At the same time, picking started last week on the fall crop out of Oxnard, and that production is gearing up. “So it’s a transition period where Watsonville will have lower and lower numbers while Oxnard will have higher and higher numbers, but it’ll be comparable numbers. The volume will stay the same, but the two areas will be shifting importance,” says Grabowski.
That means next month, Oxnard will be in peak production, and that crop could go until the end of November. “The crop out of Oxnard is looking really good right now. It has good sizing, good coloring, and good flavor. We’re just hoping that the weather cooperates, and that will continue for the next six to eight weeks,” Grabowski says.
So, while supplies are similar to last year at this time, demand is stronger. “There aren’t a lot of blueberries on the market. Retailers are still looking to promote berries, so strawberries are getting a boost from that shortage. Strawberries and raspberries are picking up the slack of less blueberries,” says Grabowski.
As a result, pricing is strong and probably stronger at this time of year compared to last year. “It’s a pretty good market,” Grabowski says. “I don’t see it getting much lower, even with the winter crop coming on, and it will probably stay pretty much at this level through at least the next four to six weeks.”
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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