Strawberry production in California is about to shift growing regions. Currently, strawberry supplies, which are comparable to last year at this time, are mostly coming out of Salinas-Watsonville.
“The quality is fair. It’s been more humid than normal here in Central California over the last couple of weeks and the overnight temperatures have been warm so you’re going to see a fair amount of bruising showing up in the berries right now. It’s not the prettiest berry that we’ve had and the size is off a little bit,” says Steve Johnston of G.W. Palmer & Co.
Moving to Santa Maria
However, beginning the week of August 21st, picking will begin in Santa Maria, California. “These are summer strawberries that are planted in late May. Some of that new crop will start to come off and it will probably be a much better berry,” says Johnston. Production stays in this region until the beginning of 2023.
At the same time, demand right now for strawberries is fair given the quality of berries available. “When the days get shorter as we move into fall, we get a better berry. And it’s always good for business once we get back into a routine and the kids are back in school. That helps demand,” says Johnston.
As for pricing, it’s approximately $14 for 1 lb. packs right now, a number that also looks comparable to last year at this time.