California strawberries deep into production

Supply of California strawberries looks plentiful right now.

“Supplies are exceeding demand right now. Demand is good but not beating the numbers at which projections are coming off at,” says Yolanda Ramirez of Valley Girl Sales and Marketing in Santa Maria, Ca.

Part of what’s factoring into this situation is that three different regions--Santa Maria, Watsonville and Salinas, California--are all going at the same time. “In Oxnard, most of that fruit has gone to processing as well as fruit from Santa Maria. But we are really just hitting peak volumes out of Watsonville and Salinas,” says Ramirez. “There’s maybe about a 20 percent increase in supply this year. There are just a lot of strawberries out there.”

Retail concerns?
While acreage is down overall, particularly in Oxnard, Ramirez believes retail pricing is helping influence the strawberry bottleneck. “I don’t know if all the retail price points are where they should be for the kind of supply we have right now,” she says. “Some are doing a really good job supporting the demand with some of those retail prices. But there are a few who are not quite where they need to be to keep the movement going. Every retailer has its own strategy and they should, but it’s good to have industry to support the peaks and move with the supply to make sure we don’t get the congestion we’re seeing right now.”

Buyers shifting focus
Looking ahead, while Memorial Day weekend and the July 4th weekend are coming up, Ramirez isn’t expecting a bump in movement. “Neither of those are big strawberry holidays. The Memorial holiday is big with mixed berries so then you’ve got other berries in there,” she says.

She also notes that with new production coming out of the Watsonville and Salinas areas and the sizing of the berries from there, that’s where buyers might be focused on. “Santa Maria will still have some good volume and good quality coming out of the west side, but that will be the challenge,” says Ramirez. “How do you keep them buying there without everybody having to move up to the north?”

For more information:
Yolanda Ramirez
Valley Girl Sales and Marketing
Tel: +1 (805) 720-2622

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