Posts Tagged “California strawberry shipments”

California Strawberry Shipper Getting off to Much Better Start Than a Year Ago

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(Note: Since this press release the state of California has issued a state of emergency that covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in Southern California due to torrential rains and flooding. Strawberries could be a primary crop adversely affected by this weather. An update will be provided on how crops and shipments are affected.)

By Bobalu Berry Farms

Oxnard, CA — As the company heads into the 2024 strawberry season, partners at Bobalu Berry Farms are reviewing how the crop looks today compared to the very unsettled beginning at this same time last year. 

Thankfully, January has been much more forgiving in 2024 than 2023 with the volume coming out of Oxnard, currently double of what it was at this time in 2023.  The plants are healthy, staying somewhat dry, and providing excellent fruit, even though we are still technically in Winter.

The Oxnard region has received its share of rain already, but with dry days in-between and nice breezes, the plants are thriving.  Additionally, Santa Maria is showing some signs that the spring season there will begin very soon.

“While this is all very good news for our strawberries, the challenge we are facing now is the inclement weather in our receiving markets”, says Anthony Gallino, VP of Sales.  “When you can’t get trucks to the east coast due to blizzard conditions and flooding rain, that affects all of us”, he adds.

Consumers typically begin filling up their shopping carts at this time of year with fresh strawberries from California to help them get that taste of Spring during the winter across the country.  However, when they can’t get to the store due to weather conditions, demand takes a hit, so the Bobalu team is working to keep the pipeline full, and is diverting some fruit to markets that are not impacted by weather at this time.

“The fruit from our ranches here in Oxnard and from our partner fields in Mexico is excellent right now and we are ramping up for the Valentine’s Day demand”, says Gallino.  The company expects to have promotable volume to supply their partners with high quality fruit and stems for the upcoming holiday.

Once Bobalu Berry Farms gets into February, the sales team will be focused on promoting the Spring crop from Oxnard, Mexico and Santa Maria as they prepare for an early Easter this year.

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California Strawberry Loadings on Track after Slow Start to Season

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Good quality and volume are being predicted by California strawberry grower-shippers through summer and into fall despite an unfavorable start to the season.

The California Strawberry Commission  of Watsonville, CA reported as of the week ending July 8, the state’s growers had produced about 109 million trays of strawberries this season, down from last year’s 128 million trays to date because of a slow start caused by cool weather and an unusually wet winter and spring.

In fact, Bobalu Berries of Oxnard, CA has called it one of the worst starts in a long time.

However, conditions have improved significantly as the season progressed.

Bobalu reports it has been able to harvest much longer than usual in Oxnard. Historically, the Oxnard strawberry harvest is over by Mother’s Day. This year, the company was able to ship fresh fruit all the way through Memorial Day.

By July, weekly strawberry shipments were comparable to last year’s volume at Bobalu. However, it is unlikely total volume for the season will equal last year.

Seven Seas, of Visalia, CA is part of the Tom Lange Co. Inc., of St. Louis, which believes its volume should be up slightly this summer,

The company produces late-summer and early-fall strawberry crops in Santa Maria, Calif., and Lompoc, Calif., and transitions to Mexico in November for year-round production.

Gem-Pack Berries LLC, of Irvine, CA, which recently partnered withWell-Pict Berries, of Watsonville, CA grows most of its late-summer strawberries in Watsonville, with some fruit coming from Santa Maria. A fall crop is scheduled for the Oxnard district.

Gem-Pack ships strawberries year-round, with volume tapering off in late fall in the northern district just as Oxnard and central Mexico start to increase. Strawberry seasons in Florida and Irvine come into play in early winter.

Naturipe Farms LLC of Salinas, CA will have summer strawberries from the Watsonville/Salinas area and will transition in the fall to its Santa Maria and Oxnard operations.

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Lighter, Later Fruit Loadings from California are Finally about Ready to Crank Up

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A difficult California growing season characterized by rain, snow and unusually low winter temperatures is finally giving away to more promising weather and more shipments of table grapes, strawberries and cherries.

Grape Shipments

The California table grape season starts in the Coachella Valley with harvesting just getting underway.

Harvesting in the San Joaquin Valley (Arvin) should begin in late June or early July. Early expectations are the 2023 crop will be similar or slightly larger than last season’s 95.1 million 19-pound boxes.

Autumn King, Scarlet Royal, Sheegene-20, flame and Sheegene-21 varieties accounted for 47% of the total volume in 2022. Exports accounted for 30% of the volume last season. The top three markets included Canada, Mexico and Taiwan.

Strawberry Shipments

Strawberry volume began recovering from adverse weather in early April, with shipments much lower than last year.

As of the week ending April 1, California shipments of conventional and organic strawberries totaled 8.5 million trays, down from 20 million at the same time in 2022.

Fall-planted acreage for 2023 winter, spring and summer production was 31,852 acres, up from 30,499 in 2022. About 45% of the acreage is in the Watsonville growing region, 34% is in the Santa Maria area and 20% is in Oxnard. Although some acreage was lost due to a levee break along the Pajaro River in March, about 95% of the strawberry crop was undamaged from the storm.

Cherry Shipments

California’s cherry crop will come on seven to 10 days later than usual, with picking beginning in late April or early May. California is the first state to ship cherries each year.

King Fresh Produce LLC of Dinuba, CA expects there will be good volume by May 20, with loadings continuing until about the third week of June.

Growers project this year’s crop will be slightly larger than last year’s 5.2 million 18-pound boxes, which is down from about 10 million boxes the year prior, mostly because of an unusually warm winter.

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California Strawberry Volume May Finally Get Going for Mother’s Day

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Strawberry shipments in time for Easter were largely a wash from California, but shippers are counting on a cold and wet early season weather finally giving away to more normal conditions. If this happens there should be decent volume occurring in time for Mother’s Day, May 14, at least for some shippers.

The Salinas Valley was hit by record rain and snowfall followed by flooding and a levee break along the Pajaro River. While there was significant damage to the affected farmers, the outlook for this year’s California strawberry crop is quite good, reports the California Strawberry Commission in Watsonville.

Only about 5% of the strawberry crop was damaged from the storms. Still, the season got off to a slow start, with February and March production well below last year. The number of trays picked as of March 18 was about 5.6 million trays, down from 14 million at the same time in 2022.

Well-Pict Inc. of Watsonville expects to have good volume through mid May and total shipments this season to be similar to last year.

Seven Seas Inc. of Visalia, CA reports strong plants and expects excellent quality despite running later than last season.

Bobalu Berries of Oxnard grows strawberries in Ventura County and Santa Maria and reports its crop is a month behind schedule.

Success Valley Produce LLC of Oxnard, CA reports it is two months behind schedule and supplies will be tight for Mother’s Day.

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Rains Slow Shipments of Southern California Strawberries

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Southern California has escaped the soggy weather compared to other parts of the state, despite periods of heavy rain.

The California Strawberry Commission of Watsonville estimates farms in Ventura County suffered 300 acres of catastrophic losses. Statewide, the losses were 1,840 acres.

The Oxnard district expects 6,358 acres of strawberries this season, an increase of 408 acres compared to 2022.

Naturipe Farms LLC of Salinas, CA notes rains put a damper on early season loadings, which will result in fewer shipments than normal for Valentine’s Day. However, long term, the rainfall should help with plant health, which will lead to improved production and quality. Excellent fruit quality, size and flavor are expected.

Naturipe plans on more volume this year due to slightly more acreage planted than last year.

Oxnard, Calif.-based Bobalu Berries of Oxnard, CA doesn’t plan to ship many berries from its Oxnard or Santa Maria growing areas until at least the end of February. Currently the company is relying on product coming out of Mexico right now.

Well-Pict Inc. of Watsonville, CA also had fewer shipments in January, but in spite of all the rain, the outlook was improving.

The company lost three weeks of production out of Oxnard but was able to pick up much of the slack from its grower in Florida. A good season out of Southern California as planting picks up. Well-Pick is predicting large-size fruit, good volume and good quality.

Seven Seas Fruit of Visalia, CA is part of the Tom Lange Co. of St. Louis and currently has acreage planted in Santa Maria and Lompoc, CA. The company anticipates a mid-March start to the season in those areas.Seven Seas Fruit also is sourcing some fruit from Mexico.

Gem-Pack of Irvine, CA reports volume of conventional and organic strawberries should be up this season compared to last year.

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California Strawberries are Past Peak Volume, but Good Volume Still Remains

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Plenty of quality California strawberries remain for shipping to retail and foodservice companies entering the last half of summer.

Well-Pict Inc. Watsonville, CA came off seven weeks of peak loadings the second week of July when it was estimated to be picking over 100,000 packages a day. Needles too say, volume has been excellent.

The company will be shipping good supplies of strawberries from Watsonville into mid September, although production will be tapering between now and then.

Bobalu Berries of Oxnard, CA will have a fall strawberries in Oxnard for the first time this year.

Oxnard kicks in early September and will complement the Santa Maria crop. This means the company will more late-season fruit at a time strawberry volume tends to drop.

Strawberry taste, size and quality have been good this summer for Gem-Pack Berries LLC, of Irvine, CA. It has been shipping medium and large sized berries.

As of July 9, California growers had shipped nearly 128 million trays of strawberries this year, according to the Watsonville-based California Strawberry Commission. That’s an increase from 112.3 million trays at the same time last year and 121.8 million trays in 2020.

Last year’s total volume was 212.8 million trays, up from 210.2 million in 2020.

Wish Farms of Plant City, FL ships summer berries from Salinas, which includes conventional and organic strawberries.

The company reports good quality this season with high sweetness levels and good flavor and sizing.

It also reports the costs of trucks to deliver products alone has dropped a little but remains 30% higher or more than past seasons.

Loads which were shipping for $5,000 before now are shipping for $8,000.

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Strong Strawberry Volume Continues

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Heavy volume strawberry shipments continue from California following the Mother’s Day holiday and the trend is continuing this week as strong demand from retail sales continues.

In fact strawberry loadings are increasing this week from the Salinas/Watsonville are and are expected to continue at a similar pace next week, before showing a decline prior to Memorial Day, May 23 – 27. Quality is reported to be excellent with 90 to 95% color.

Shipments out of Santa Maria, CA, are increasings thanks to warm weather, Good quality is reports, although some “green shoulders” is being reported.

In seasonal decline, Oxnard, CA, strawberry shipments are all but finished as the season concludes. Quality is reported to be only fair, with some bruising.

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Naturipe’s California Strawberry Supply Hits Peak Shipments

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Salinas, CA – Naturipe’s California strawberries are in peak production with the high-quality and flavorful berries consumers expect from Naturipe. Peak volumes are starting now and expected to last through June.

This season, Naturipe Farms is set to have its highest volumes of strawberries, as all California regions are in full production. Oxnard, Santa Maria, and Watsonville-Salinas are producing at peak volumes with great quality and supplies. We have a mix of proprietary and U.C. varieties to bring our customers the best of both worlds!

“This year’s California strawberry crop is peaking just in time for National Strawberry Month. We are seeing great quality and delicious flavor on these sweet and juicy berries. We are thrilled to be offering strong promotable volumes heading into May,” said Jerry Moran, Vice President of Sales for Naturipe.

About Naturipe:

Naturipe is a farmer-owned producer and marketer of nutritious, best tasting, premium berries and avocados that has been an industry leader for more than 100 years

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Merger Allows Strawberry Shippers More Volume

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Gem-Pack Berries LLC of Irvine, CA and and Red Blossom Sales Inc. of Salinas, CA merged last October and combined the companies now has about 5,000 acres of strawberries in Florida, Mexico and California, as well as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. 

Gem-Pack reports the expansion now allows year around shipments of berries with the ability to continue growing.

During the next three months, strawberry shipments will be heavy, creating more opportunities to work on branding with retailers.  

The company is a major shipper of strawberries. It will increase strawberry volume by 15 percent this year. Although, it has a few new items.

It is shipping pineberries out of Florida, as well as new blackberry varieties from Mexico. The company also added raspberries to its product line.

The company also offers organic strawberries out of Baja, Mexico, and Watsonville, CA.

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California Shippers Gearing Up for Peak Strawberry Volume

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Shipments of California strawberries continue to increase this month building towards a peak in April.

Well-Pict Berries of Watsonville, CA grows its Southern California strawberry varieties on approximately 1,200 acres in Oxnard, CA because the coastline provides moderate temperatures and a 12-month growing season. 

Shipments both conventional and organic berries are expected to be similar to recent years, Well-Pict reports. Peak loadings begin towards the end of March, beginning of April.

Naturipe Farms of Salinas, CA has increased strawberry acreage in Oxnard and additional acreage throughout the company’s main growing regions in California. It’s Southern California shipments will peak in April.

While the company will have its best volume in spring, it also expects good volumes of fresh strawberries throughout the year.

Naturipe has increased its organic strawberries acreage this year over 20 percent.

Naturipe is promoting bigger packs of strawberries this year to help counter higher freight rates. By shipping 2-pound packs, the company can get 14 percent more weight on a truck versus the 1-pound pack.

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