Rain may impact California strawberry supplies

Supplies of strawberries out of California are getting tighter.

“Supplies are normally tight around this time of year. Salinas, Ca. is almost done,” says Barry Fisher of M & B Produce, Inc. in Manhattan Beach, Ca.

But the real problem, notes Fisher, is that heavy rains are going to start this week which will greatly impact supplies. “We had a little bit of rain a few days ago but nothing major,” he says. “But this storm could be much longer.”

When heavy rains are anticipated, picking goes deeper and earlier, lighter-colored fruit can be picked preventatively. “Also, you want to get the red fruit off because you would have to throw it away after the rain so it’s best to just pick it all off,” says Fisher.

Mexico adding volume
Meanwhile Mexico has begun shipping its strawberries and the volume looks significant. “The plantings in Mexico are increasing to fill more of the winter market for strawberries. The market has changed dramatically down there,” says Fisher.

In terms of demand, M & B is focused on export markets to Singapore and Malaysia and Fisher says demand is marginal for California strawberries in those markets. “There’s not a lot of volume going out because other markets are starting their seasons in the Southern Hemisphere so Australia is very strong right now,” says Fisher. “And as our prices are going up, they’re in their normal season so there aren’t a lot of strawberries to export. The Asian markets don’t really increase dramatically until about April of next year.”

All of this means pricing is strong on the export side as per usual. “Yet it’s a tad less than last year because of the weather,” adds Fisher.

For more information:
Barry Fisher
M & B Produce, Inc.
Tel: +1 (310) 802-8091

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