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California weather brings tight strawberry supplies this Valentine’s Day

Overview of the strawberry supply by Kyla Oberman of California Giant Berry Farms, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in on February 12, 2021 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and that means that consumers are looking for strawberries. “Valentine’s Day presents a great opportunity to create recipe displays and merchandise with complimentary items such as chocolate dipping kits, sparkling cider or champagne, and flowers” says Kyla Oberman of California Giant Berry Farms. “It is a natural promotional opportunity for fresh strawberries,” adds Alan Ediger, Vice President of Sales at California Giant Berry Farms. “Historically, it’s been one of the most promoted holidays during the year for strawberries.”

Volumes (in Kg) of strawberry in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Tight supplies this Valentine’s Day

This year, supplies will be a bit tight – though volumes are expected to increase at the start of next month. In addition to the Santa Maria and Oxnard regions in California, Florida and Mexico are also in production for strawberries right now.

Origin of strawberry in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“Mexico strawberry fields have been in full production since late October. While the season is still ongoing, it will wrap up by the end of March,” says Oberman. Regarding the domestic production, she shares: “Overall supply of strawberries is tight due to the recent weather events in the Oxnard and Santa Maria growing areas, in addition to Florida experiencing below normal temperatures for this time of the year.”

Quality remains good, volumes to increase again soon

Fortunately, despite tighter supplies at the moment, the strawberries are in good shape. Oberman explains: “Our California growers were able to anticipate the wind and rain and prepped the fields as best they could by harvesting ahead of the weather. Immediately following the rains, crews got in early to clean up by stripping the plants of damaged fruit to make way for the next round of berries.”

The state of the plants right now promises plenty of volumes coming early March: “The strawberry plants are now dawning all stages of fruit from flower, green and red berries. While the weather did cause some damage, there is plenty of oncoming berries and good weather that followed the rain, so high-quality fruit continues to be harvested and shipped to our customers,” says Oberman.

Ediger concludes: “California Giant’s strawberry quality is excellent, and supplies should start to increase. We expect to have excellent post-holiday opportunities for promotions.”

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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