Posts Tagged “California strawberry shipments”

California Summer Strawberry Shipments Looking Strong

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California strawberry shippers had shipped 121.8 million trays of the fruit by mid July, up from 112.2 million trays last year at the same time, but down from the 128 million trays shipped in 2018, according to the California Strawberry Commission.

Well-Pict Inc. of Watsonville, CA reports the season peaked around July 1, although plenty of berries remain.

Strawberry shipments were strong in part due to a shorter-than-usual early-season crops of some other summer fruits such as watermelons and cherries. Since then increased volume from watermelons and cherries as well as other summer fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines and grapes, strawberry are providing more competition. 

Watsonville-Salinas strawberry loadings are seasonally declining and Well-Pict will pick up its new fall strawberry crop out of Oxnard from mid-September through mid-November.

Bobalu Berries of Oxnard is gearing up to kick off its fall crop from Santa Maria. The grower-shipper loads out of an area that is actually north of the main Santa Maria growing region in a coastal location similar to Salinas.

Picking should start this week and continue until early November.

Salinas Valley berries and vegetables – grossing about $5700 to Chicago.

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California Strawberry Shipments Could be up 16 Million Trays over Last Year

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California strawberry shipments are on track to beat last year’s 202 million trays by a little over 16 million.

Naturipe Berry Growers of Salinas, CA finished its Santa Maria berry shipments the first week of June and then shifted to the Watsonville area.

May and June are peak months for California strawberries.

Early in the season, shippers were loading in Oxnard, Santa Maria and Watsonville.

Volume remained strong through June, will have a seasonal decline in July and August.

Bobalu Berries of Oxnard, CA hit peak loadings in mid-June. Although the company has been a longtime grower, this is the first year Bobalu Berries is shipping its own product.

The grower has an interesting location north and west of Santa Maria, close to the ocean, similar to the Watsonville area.

Watsonville-Salinas will be the primary area in California shipping strawberries as the season progresses, but that area is significantly larger than the state’s other berry growing regions.

Naturipe’s volume likely will end up equal to or a little more than last year.

Main Street Produce Inc. of Santa Maria likely will continue to ship strawberries from that area until December.

The company’s volume will be up about 15 percent over last year.

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California Strawberry Loads May Exceed Last Year

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California strawberry shipments could exceed last year’s volume thanks to increased plantings and higher yielding varieties.

Strawberry growers planted nearly 27,000 acres of strawberries for winter, spring and summer production this year, about 1,000 acres more than 2019.

The California Strawberry Commission of Watsonville, CA. reports the combination of increased acreage and the introduction of high-yielding varieties offers growers the potential of producing more than last year’s 202 million plus trays.

Ventura County accounts for 19 percent of the state’s acreage, Santa Maria has 35 percent and Watsonville has 45 percent.

As of March 9, the state had shipped nearly 8.5 million trays of strawberries compared to 4.3 million trays at the same time last year.

Well-Pict Inc. of Watsonville, CA was picking in Oxnard the second week of March and the area hit a peak at the end of March.

Santa Maria began loadings in late March, but the crop was slowed due to earlier weather issues. The areais now entering peak shipments.

Meanwhile, Watsonville shipments are ahead of schedule this year.

Red Blossom Sales Inc., Salinas, CA started shipment from Santa Maria the second week of March 9 but was planningt to start picking in Watsonville around April 30, as usual.

Bobalu Berries of Oxnard started its strawberry season in Ventura County and will be shipping from Watsonville in May.

Truck rates from Ventura County have plunged in recent days from 15 to 30 percent, depending on the market. Oxnard rates have dropped over 20 percent – strawberries and vegetables to New York City – about $6200; down 30 percent to Atlanta – now about $3900.

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California Strawberry Season to Have Heavy Shipments

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California strawberry shipments in the Salinas-Watsonville area kicked off at the end of March, in time to meet increased demand for berries spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volumes of California strawberries will be plentiful this season, according to a news release from California Giant Berry Farms, Watsonville.

Nick Chappell, director of retail sales for the berry company, said in the release that Oxnard harvest will peak by mid-April and Santa Maria strawberry volumes are “continuing to increase with volumes unlike we have seen in years.”

“Not only are we about to have momentous supply for our partners during a time of increased retail demand, but all regions are producing exceptional quality to kick-start the spring season.”
Sales data from IRI show that berry category sales for the week ending March 15 saw an increase of almost 32 percent from the same period in 2019.

 California Giant started an e-mail marketing campaign in late March targeting its most engaged consumers — a.k.a the “Berry Squad” — in the company’s database.

“With the uncertainties and difficulties families are currently facing, we wanted to offer an incentive and support to shoppers that are looking to stock up on fresh, nutritious berries on their grocery runs,” Chappell said in the release.

Digital connectivity and communities are becoming more important as consumers limit contact with others because of the virus. Marketing Manager Morgan Maitoza said a recent customer response statement to consumers and trade customers received a high “open rate” of 43%.

“While routines and realities look very different for families across the nation at this time, our goal is to continue to connect with our shoppers, provide helpful, relatable and comforting content and attainable recipes with ingredients and pantry staples shoppers may already have in their own homes, while adding in the sweetness, diversity and nutritional benefits of berries,” Maitoza said in the release.

In April, California Giant will have a new promotion focusing on heavy volume periods with a “Back to the Basics” theme, as consumers spend more time at home and find comfort in food, according to the release.

Ventura County strawberries and vegetables – grossing $8000 to New York City.


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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.

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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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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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