Bobalu Berry Farms is celebrating the success of its weekly e-news, the 10 o’clock Walk which has seen an increase in the number of buyer subscribers. This weekly bulletin summarizes what the team sees in the fields each week specific to volume, quality and weather, as well as the current outlook ahead for the fields in production.
The 10 o’clock Walk has been especially helpful this season. Whether on the buy side or sell side of the California strawberry deal this year, it has not been a ‘typical’ season to date. One thing that has helped Bobalu Berry Farms is the constant communication with buyers on exactly what is happening in the fields as they walk them every day at “10AM”.
The 10 o’clock Walk is named after the 10 a.m. walk of the fields the Bobalu team takes daily.
This year, the sales team has focused on transparency with buying partners as they navigate through demand exceeds situations during the Spring holiday season where strawberries are a focal point in the produce department. “We tried to stay close to our buyers and not overcommit, to be realistic around what is happening in the field and understand challenges in keeping fruit on the shelves for shoppers. The bulletin is another way to share insights and timely photos of what the fields look like,” says Anthony Gallino, VP of sales.
Each morning at 10AM the team walks the fields, checks and tastes the fruit, and assesses test varieties in various plots as they determine viability for future seasons. Having this daily connection to the field provides direct insights to buyers and a higher degree of confidence in what they are selling. Even through COVID challenges with limited in-person contact, the team has stayed connected every morning.
Having this daily connection to the field via the 10 a.m. walks provides direct insights to buyers.
Today, this truly is a season for the record books. Bobalu’s peak season in Oxnard this year was almost a month behind where it typically falls, and volume is about 20-30 percent lower than normal. The entire district of Oxnard is currently about 5 million trays behind 2020 volume. Additionally, the company’s Santa Maria fields are following suit with lower early numbers and running about a month behind in timing for a peak, with total district numbers about 3 million trays behind last year. In looking at statewide volume for fresh strawberries, cumulative volume is 10 million trays behind the 2020 season to date. Weather has served as the main driver for this shift.
Thankfully, the weather is shifting and there is still a lot of season ahead with peak Santa Maria season coming for Bobalu, who also put plants in the ground there this week to prepare for a fall crop in this region.
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