Sandwiched in between Ventura County to the south and the Watsonville area of the Salinas Valley to the north is Santa Mara. It’s strawberry season typically overlaps with the other two neighboring growing districts and plays a significant role in the state’s total volume.
While weather delays cut volume for Easter, Santa Maria strawberry shipments are expected to play a key role.
Through March 24th, total volume for the year-from Santa Maria stood at 2.43 million trays, up from 1.89 million trays last year at the same time. However, it was down from 4.04 million crates in 2016.
Total California strawberry shipments the week of March 24 were 907,000 crates, down about 70 percent from 3.31 million trays the same week last year and 80 percent less than the 4.27 million two years ago. In fact, total California strawberry shipments the week of March 24 were 907,000 crates, down about 70% from 3.31 million trays the same week last year and 80 pecent lower than the 4.27 million two years ago.
A freeze a few weeks ago damaged blooms in Santa Maria, followed by rain during much of March, which cut volume for shippers such as Gold Coast Packing Inc., of Santa Maria.
Total California strawberry shipments last year hit a record 206 million trays, up from the 2016 record of 197 million trays. The Santa Maria district shipped 66.7 million trays in 2017, up from 60.8 million trays in 2016.
Projected acreage for the Santa Maria district this season is 11,292 acres, down from 12,209 acres in 2017 and 11,817 acres in 2016.
Santa Maria’s fall planted acreage of 8,506 for winter, spring and summer production was off 3.4 pecent compared with 2017. As a whole, Santa Maria accounted for 30.6 percent of California’s fall planted acreage for winter, spring and summer production, compared with 29.6 pecent last year.
Total fall planted acreage for winter, spring and summer production was estimated at 27,804 acres, down 6.5 percent from 2017.
Meanwhile, Santa Maria accounted for 2,786 acres for projected summer planted acreage for fall production, down 18 percent from 2017. Santa Maria accounts for 46.5 pecent of California’s projected summer planted acreage for fall production, down from a 51.1 percent share a year ago.
The estimate for California’s total summer planted strawberry for fall production in 2018 is 5,998 acres, down 10.1 pecent compared with a year ago.