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California moving a big crop of large strawberries for Mother’s Day

There are plenty of big strawberries from California as Mother's Day approaches–a holiday that often sees higher consumption of the popular berry. "The strawberries are looking fabulous," says Steve Johnston of G.W. Palmer & Co. Inc. "The heavy rains of the 2022-2023 rainy season in California have really helped the ground and that's making for a beautiful bumper crop in California."

On top of that, growing conditions in the state for strawberries have been ideal with occasional rains but also sunny days and cool nights. "This has made a perfect combination for a great big berry. The size and condition are strong right now–you couldn't have better quality going into the Mother's Day pull," says Johnston, adding that the size in some cases adds up to an eight-count 1 lb. pack of berries.

Changing regions
In terms of growing regions, Oxnard is winding down its production at the moment with several shippers starting to divert product to processors because the market is so low–the size of the fruit has given shippers more than anticipated. That leaves Santa Maria and Salinas-Watsonville as the primary production areas right now. "The quality is good from Oxnard but there's just so much coming in from those other regions that people want to switch to the new area," says Johnston.

While demand is strong, it is coming up against that oversupply of strawberries which means it may be a tough year market-wise. "For the next six weeks, there's going to be an oversupply and they'd better promote, promote, promote," says Johnston.

One of the upsides though of the large-sized fruit is that labor is readily accessible for growers. "There's such a bountiful crop that some pickers are making $30+/hour. It's just easy picking on small plants," says Johnston. "The pickers will tell you where the good strawberries are."

For more information:
Steve Johnston
G.W. Palmer & Co., Inc.
Tel: +1 (831) 753-6578
[email protected]