Winter weather impacts demand

Slimmer supplies and higher prices on California strawberries

Strawberry supplies look a little tight right now out of California.

“The rain that we had a couple of weeks ago slowed things up. It was a heavy rain which is good because California needs water. But it slowed down the growth of the plants,” said Jim Grabowski of Well Pict based in Watsonville, CA. “We also had some cooler weather so the plants haven’t come back as fast as they should have. So, for the next week and a half to two weeks, we’ll probably see tighter supplies.”

For Well Pict, its current production is out of Oxnard, CA. Grabowski also says that mid-January is when more appreciable volumes are expected out of the area.

Along with Oxnard, Florida is also in production currently as is Mexico. “So there’s probably enough berries in the pipeline for this time of the year,” he says.

Weather and demand
Grabowski does note that supplies are meeting demand right now for strawberries. “With parts of the country getting pummeled with snow, there will be fewer people daring to go out to stores in those parts of the country so I think the supply is equal to the demand,” he says. “Winter demand always depends on the weather in other areas. We could have great weather out of California but various winter storms in parts of the country affect demand.”

However, strawberry supplies could look better for Valentine’s Day, a holiday that’s often associated with strawberries. “If the weather holds up and with things being pushed back like this, we just might hit enough stemmed strawberries for Valentine’s Day. This might be the perfect year if things cooperate from here on in,” says Grabowski.

Meanwhile, pricing on strawberries is typical for this time of year. “It’s more than in peak production times and it will steadily decline as the volume picks up,” says Grabowski. “So, by the middle of January, there will probably be a big difference in price from what it is now.”

For more information:
Jim Grabowski
Well Pict
Tel: +1 (708) 227-1222  

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