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US: Good year for berries in California
A strong start to the strawberry season and good weather have made for a good year for berries in California.
"We had a strong start in January with strawberries due to mild weather in California," said Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for California Giant Berry Farms. She added that spring rains caused some disruption in the season, but growers recovered and are now enjoying peak volumes with excellent quality and flavor. Production from Florida and Mexico was also good, with production from both regions higher than last year.
California Giant was able to benefit from higher production in those three regions because they have operations in each area, noted Jewell. The benefit of growing in multiple regions is they can hedge against the ill effects of a bad season in any one area.
"We have the ability to pull from more than one region if there are shortages due to weather or seasonal issues," she said. "Having multiple regions is also essential for a year-round program, which also requires different varieties based on those best suited for a specific region." The benefits of that diversified region strategy were apparent this year with the strawberry season in Florida.
"Even though Florida volume ended up higher than the previous year," she said, "they had a very rough season with many weather disruptions affecting quality and profitability for the growers." But with berries from multiple regions, California Giant can still ensure a consistent level of quality. This year, they took advantage of good conditions in California.
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