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Fairly soft market for strawberries
Ideal growing conditions have spurred on good production of strawberries in Salinas and Santa Maria. With fairly light demand, prices for fresh strawberries have been soft, possibly encouraging growers to divert more production to processing.
“The weather hasn't been too warm yet, so growing conditions are perfect and the plants are just loaded with berries,” said Steve Johnston with GW Palmer. “Salinas is at its peak right now, so you can have a million flats a day coming from there.”
But with demand not at peak levels, prices have been middling. On June 20, prices for a flat of strawberries from Salinas were mostly between $8.00 and $9.00, and prices for a flat from Santa Maria were mostly between $7.00 and $8.00. Johnston believes those soft prices will encourage some shippers to divert more production to processing.
“Santa Maria has had four solid months of production, so they could dedicate more to processing just to take the edge off the market,” he said. “You can still get a good freezer price for strawberries, so growers can manipulate the harvest in order to get a handle on the market.”
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