California strawberry growers assessing impact from last week's rain

Strawberry growers in California are still estimating the impact last week's significant rainfall has made on crops. Particularly in focus are the stem berries that are expected to attract high demand come Valentine's Day. 

Oxnard
"The Oxnard growing region received significant rainfall at the beginning of last week," said Cindy Jewell, of California Giant. "About 1.5 inches of rain fell in this area, and it was not so much the amount, but the fact that it all came at once. We are still gathering estimates as to how much of an impact this has had on strawberry production. We're especially taking note of the demand expected soon for stem berries leading into Valentine’s Day”.

"Initial reports are that things are looking good," Jewell continued. "Expectations are for a good supply of large fruit in our early production regions. Sizing is weather dependent and the early season plants push out large fruit when the plants are young. Which is the case, at this time of year."



Favorable forecast in the coming weeks
Now that the initial cold weather, followed by the rainfall has passed, the forecast indicates favorable weather conditions in the upcoming week. Expectations are that production will return to normal once the general clean up of the rain has come to an end.

"Most ranches will be spending this week cleaning up from the rain," Jewell said. "We will see highs in the mid 70s and lows will be in the 40s with daytime highs over 60. This is ideal for strawberry growth and we expect to see good quality and good sizes from the fields. The other good news is that our organic fields were not affected at all by the rain so we are still seeing normal production surrounding our organic program. It's such a distinctive micro-climate and it results in outcomes like this."



Market strong as demand strengthens
Demand for strawberries has been increasing in recent weeks and it has placed the market in a strong position. Growers are entering a period of strong retail promotions, with Valentine's Day around the corner, as well as the Olympic Games.

"We are in a market where demand is exceeding current supply, resulting in strong pricing," Jewell continued. "We're getting into a whole new season now when we will be kicking into some huge promotions. Towards the end of the month, around January 28 and 29, we will be excited to be launching a new promotion surrounding the Winter Olympic games."

For more information:
Cindy Jewell
California Giant Berry Farms
+1 (831) 728-1773

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