Posts Tagged “California strawberry shipments”

Acreage Increases May Lead to More Strawberry Shipments

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The New Year is expected to bring big time California strawberry shipments during the spring and early summer peak season.


The California Strawberry Commission of Watsonville reports the primary reason is due to an anticipated small increase in acreage. Fall plantings, which will produce fruit during the traditional winter, spring and summer months, were reported at 26,928 acres for 2020, up from 25,868 last year.

Assuming the weather cooperates, 2020 California strawberry shipments could hit record levels from Easter (April 12) to Independence Day (July 4), according to the commission.

Summer plantings for fall production will continue its upward trend of recent years, reaching 7,185 acres this year, up from 7,089 in 2019.

During the past five years, greater yielding strawberry varieties have allowed growers to reach record production while acreages have declined.

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Seasonal Shipping Area Change for California Strawberries is Underway

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While Watsonville strawberry shipments are winding down, loadings will continue in lighter volume until November. Meanwhile, strawberry volume from about 7,000 acres in Oxnard and Santa Maria are building heading into fall.

Picking has just got underway and should continue through October and into November.

Summer-planted acreage for fall production is up about 10 percent from last year.    Fresh plants and new fruit from the summer plantings has shippers predicting good sizing and quality for strawberries.

California strawberry shipments are trailing previous years due to rain and cold weather during the winter and spring, which delayed picking.    

As of August 3rd, the state had shipped over 131 million trays of strawberries.

At the same time in 2018, the figure was over 148 million trays, and in 2017 it was in excess of 138 million trays.

How close 2019 volume will come to previous years won’t be known for another couple of months. Typically, half the year’s crop is shipped by July 1st.

California strawberry and vegetable shipments from Santa Maria and Ventura County – grossing about $4800 to Chicago.

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Good Volume Seen for Domestic Berries; Huge Hike Predicted for Peruvian Blueberries

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My beautiful picture

Good volume berry shipments are expected from U.S. shippers the rest of the summer and a huge volume increase is in the forecast for imported Peruvian blueberries.

In early July, California strawberry shippers had moved over 105 million trays, compared to 121.4 million trays at the same time a year ago. Rain during the winter and spring followed by a heatwave the second week of June had California strawberry loadings running below last year’s numbers.

Besides strawberries there are other competing fruit shipments ranging from cherries, to stone fruit and melons.

Blueberry Shipments

Gourmet Tranding Co. of Los Angeles reports domestic blueberry shipments should remain strong for at least the next couple of months, continuing through September. However, domestic “blues” are expected to have some strong competition from Peruvian blueberry imports, which is seen increasing as much as 50 percent over a year ago. Those imports begin in August and continue through January and possibly into February.

The vast majority of domestic blueberry shipments during the summer are originating out of Michigan, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. All of these areas are reporting good crops.

Other Berry Shipments

Summertime means peak shipments for domestic raspberries and blackberries. A hot spell in California during June did not have as severe an impact on raspberries as it did on strawberries.

California raspberry shipments should continue into mid-November out of Watsonville. Razz loadings will then transition to Ventura County, before switching to Mexico for the winter.

California Giant Berry Farms of Watsonville will be shipping California raspberries until late September or early October before shifting to Mexico.

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Probably No Record, But California Strawberry Volume is Looking Good

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It has been a slow start due to rainy weather earlier this year, but California strawberry shipments are gradually returning to normal volume this spring.

California strawberry loadings had amounted to about 27.7 million trays on April 20th, compared to about 29 million trays last year.

On a weekly basis, volume for the week ending April 20th was around 7 million trays, up from about 5.6 million trays for the same week in 2018.

Shipments had picked up leading up Mother’s Day May 12th and with the May 27th Memorial Day.

Ventura County strawberries are pretty much finished, but Santa Maria is picking up the slack with the Salinas/Watsonville not far behind.

Well-Pict Inc. of Watsonville wrapped up its Oxnard season the first week of May and now is focusing on Santa Maria and Watsonville.

Santa Maria and Watsonville both started late due to consistently rainy weather, although the precipitation was welcomed even though it pushed back the season a little.

In mid-April, Watsonville and Santa Maria were running about two to three weeks behind their normal shipping schedules, although strong volume is expected through June.

Naturipe Berry Growers Salinas has been in full shipping mode from Santa Maria since early May. Volume has gradually been increasing since then at their Salinas/Watsonville operations.

This season is pretty much back to normal following a dry year in 2018.

California Giant Berry Farms of Watsonville in now hitting peak shipments out of Santa Maria, with the second round of harvesting now underway in Watsonville where loadings are ramping up.

Santa Maria strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $7100 to New York City.

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Santa Maria Strawberry Shipments Could be Exceptional This Season

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Santa Maria is California’s second leading produce and shipper of strawberries and this season could be a banner one. As with other Golden State berry production areas, Santa Mara has been producing greater volumes with higher yield under new varieties.

Positioned on the Central Coast with Ventura to its south and Watsonville to the north, in 2018, Santa Maria strawberry shipments totaled over 33 percent of California’s total volume — about 70.4 million crates.

In the fall of 2018, growers planted 8,583 acres for the upcoming winter, spring and summer season, off from 11,744 acres from the previous season.

Providence Farms in Santa Maria has mostly organic strawberries on 260 acres, which grows and ships its product through California Giant Berry Farms. The company reports increasing yields as a result of research by the University of California, Davis program. Providence Farms 35 years ago was producing around 6,000 trays an acre, but now yields are up to 8,500 to 9,000 trays an acre with newer, improved varieties.

If the weather is normal this season, weekly shipment volume is expected to equal or exceed average shipment totals the past three years from April 15th to October 31st.

Total California strawberry shipments have set records the past three years in total, increasing 6 percent. It is a trend where growers are producing higher yields with less planted acreage. During the past three years strawberry acreage has declined 12 percent.

Two of the three top-yielding varieties in production yield studies conducted in Watsonville by UC Davis, include the monterey variety, producing 10,554 cartons per acre, and the san andreas variety, which yielded 10,414 cartons per acre.

However, problems can arise with the higher-producing varieties. Weather factors delayed fruit harvests until California’s three strawberry districts came online with fruit, including those high-yield varieties, close in time with each other. That was around May 11th, when production hit nearly 10 million trays and exceeded the three-year average of just over 8 million trays.

Annual shipments increased 9 percent to nearly 225 million trays.

Weather has resulted in statewide shipments this year trailing behind last year at this time. As of March 23rd, shipments were at about 7.2 million trays — significantly behind the nearly 11.9 million trays harvested at the same time last year.

In Santa Maria, about 637,000 crates of berries have been shipped compared to over 2.4 million crates a year ago. Timing, however, is on track with normal years.

Santa Maria strawberry and vegetable shipments – grossing about $4700 to Chicago.



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Despite Less Acreage, California Strawberry Shipments May Increase

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Over production and poor markets has the California strawberry industry in a quandary following the 2018 season when profits took a big hit. That’s not so bad for truckers hauling the fruit simply because more loads are available.

However, the strawberry growers and shippers were expecting a major reduction in acreage this year, but that apparently hasn’t happened.

During late January strawberry shipments from Ventura County were very light with some quality issues. However, volume is building weekly and quality is expected to improve at the same time. Decent volume is occurring just in time for Valentine’s Day (February 14) shipments.

However, the bigger issue remains over production. California’s acreage report estimates 25,704 acres for 2019, but that is only a 1,722-acre drop, which would be about a 6 percent decrease. California’s acreage dropped by almost 8 percent from 2017 to 2018, but as is the case this year, strawberry production is expected to increase because newer varieties are having greater yields. In 2018, California shipped over 222 million trays of fresh strawberries to the market, which was a 10 percent increase over 2017 despite the 8 percent drop in acreage.

California Giant Berry Farms of Watsonville reports acreage has decreased, but the newer varieties have greater yields, so there is not the same drop in volume.

GEM-Pack Berries of Irvine, CA, likewise doesn’t see a drop in acreage during 2019 resulting in fewer berries to ship. The company points out around of 9 million trays were shipped during some weeks in 2018, which is simply too many berries for the market to absorb.

Colleen Strawberries Inc. of Watsonville, CA, also calls for a further reduction in the California acreage for the strawberries to be profitable. While weather problems could reduce shipments this season, the acreage total is not sustainable without some issue reducing overall volume.

On a positive note, huge volume is typical for Easter and this year Easter is late — April 21st. This should give the season extra time to be producing good volume and quality. California strawberry shipments tend to peak during April and May. Easter is followed by Mother’s Day three weeks later (May 12th), when shipments surge for both occasions.

The berry category in general remains strong for blueberries, blackberries and raspberries — as well as strawberries and continues to rise. Strawberries still remain the favorite with more than 50 percent of the total berry volume, but that number is decreasing.

Ventura County strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $7400 to New York City.

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Shipping Updates: California Strawberries, New Mexico Onions, and U.S. Potatoes

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A2California strawberry shipments are on track to break another record this season….New Mexico onion shipments are going strong….There’s a lot more potatoes remaining in U.S. storages for shipping compared to last year.

While it may be too early to tell whether California will have its third record year of strawberry shipments, if volume shipped mostly by truck in early June is any indication, it could be another one for the books.

There were plenty of supplies for shipments leading up to the Fourth of July.  Loadings for Labor Day and beyond are looking to be just as good as shipments are way ahead of a year ago.

As of the week ending June 2, the state’s growers had harvested 82.3 million trays of strawberries.

A year ago, that figure was about 79 million trays, and two years ago the number also was in that range.  Naturipe Farms LLC of Salinas, CA is experiencing record volume and record production.

Salinas Valley strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $8900 to New York City.

New Mexico Onion Shipments

While the New Mexico onion volume estimate will not come out until August, strong volume is expected again this year.  Shipments have been occurring since May and are now averaging about 875 truck loads per week.  Loadings will continue through August and this time of the year has typically provided the most onion shipments in the U.S.  Carzalia Valley Produce Inc. of Columbus, N.M. and Billy the Kid Produce LLC of Deming, N.M are both experiencing a normal shipping season.

New Mexico onions – grossing about $4000 to Chicago.

U.S. Potato Shipments

There are 9 percent more potatoes remaining to be shipped in U.S. storages than at this same time a year ago.

The top producing potato states had 59 million cwt. of potatoes in storage June 1.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reports 15 percent of the fall 2017 crop was still in storage at the beginning of the month, which is 2 percentage points more than last season.

The top three potato shipping states, and the percent of their 2017 fall crop production left in storage, are:

  • Idaho — 23 million cwt. (18 percent)
  • Washington — 13 million cwt. (13 percent)
  • Wisconsin — 5.3 million cwt. (18 percent)




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California is Experiencing Strong Strawberry Shipments; South African Citrus to Arrive Soon

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DSCN0607The past few weeks have seen California strawberry shipments ramping up for Mother’s Day and good volume will continue beyond…Meanwhile the first shipment of South African citrus will be arriving in the U.S. within a couple of weeks.

For example, California Giant Berry Farms and Well-Pict Inc., both based in Watsonville, have seen volume recently doubling on a weekly basis.

While most of the California strawberry shipment for Mother’s Day is coming out of the Santa Maria district, Salinas volume also is building.

The California Strawberry Commission reports the Salinas/Watsonville district has 13,233 acres of strawberries this season, which will account for 39 percent of the state’s strawberry acreage.

Last year, the district had 13,570 acres and accounted for 37 percent of the state’s strawberry acreage.  The area shipped more than 102 million trays of strawberries in 2017, up from 100,820,365 trays in 2016.

Most shippers are expecting volume in 2018 to be similar to last year’s.

Rain in mid-March really had an adverse affect on strawberry shipments for Easter this year.  In addition to Santa Maria, Salinas and Watsonville, strawberry shipments also have been coming out of Ventura County.

Summer Citrus From South Africa’s Planning Session Leads To Positive 2018 Season

by Summer Citrus from South Africa (SCSA)

CITRUSDAL, South Africa – Easy Peelers, followed by Navels and Star Rubies from South Africa, will start to arrive in containers in the United States towards the end of May, with the first conventional vessel arriving the third week of June at the port of Philadelphia. To support a successful 2018 season, members from across the U.S. and Western & Northern Cape came together in March for the Annual Planning Meeting, hosted by SCSA, to review sales and marketing plans, production volumes, shipping schedules, and category trends.

It is expected be a good season despite the challenges associated with the droughts occurring in the Western Cape.  With international best practices, innovation and the latest technology, growers are able to maximize their resources in these difficult times to produce an increased volume of good looking crop.



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Santa Maria Strawberry Shipments Play Significant Role in Total California Volume

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DSCN9805Sandwiched 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.

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California Strawberry Shipments this Year Have Set a New Record

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DSCN0189California strawberry shipments in 2017 have already exceeded its 2016 record setter with a full month to go in the year.

By the middle of November California growers had packed 197.3 million crates statewide, exceeding the 196.8 million crates produced during all 12 months of 2016.

What is ironic about the shipping season is California experienced one of its rainiest winters on record in 2016-17, plus the heavy strawberry production area of the Salinas Valley, among others, had an exceptionally hot summer.

However, the rains helped to rinse away some of the salts that had built up in the top layer of soil during the drought.

Higher yields from newer strawberry varieties also contributed to the record crop.  Growers planned to plant 36,141 acres of strawberries in 2017, off from 40,816 acres four years earlier.

California strawberry shipments take place the year around and basically follow the sun.  During the peak shipping season, all of the state’s major growing regions  — Oxnard, Orange County, Santa Maria and Watsonville are loading berries.  Peak shipments are  typically in the spring and early summer, but it came later this year due to spring rains.

Strawberry shipments in the early part of 2017 were adversely affected by big storms.  The result was amazing with seasonal rainfall totals in many coastal areas being around 150 percent of normal. Luckily, growers for the most part avoided major damage from the storms.

A recent consumer survey revealed strawberries as America’s favorite fresh fruit.   32 percent of respondents identified strawberries as their favorite fruit, in the survey that did not provide a list of fruits from which to choose.  Bananas (9 percent) placed second, while watermelons (8 percent) were the third favorite fruit in the U.S.

California is the leading strawberry shipping region in the world.  The state also provides nearly 80 percent of the strawberries grown, packed, shipped and consumed in the U.S.

While California strawberries are currently coming mostly out of Santa Maria and Oxnard, this is a light volume time of the year.  Mexican strawberry shipments are currently light as well, but is increasing in volume with the new shipping season.

Santa Maria strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $8000 to New York City.

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