Posts Tagged “Mexican strawberry shipments”
California 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.
California strawberry shipments are down this season about 40 percent compared to this time a year ago.
But the West Coast isn’t alone with lower volume on strawberries. Some are calling Florida’s strawberry season a crop failure. Florida strawberry shipments are down 50 percent, while Mexico is off by one-third.
Strawberries shipments are typically big for Valentine’s Day (which was February 14). This next big push is for Easter, which arrives early this year, March 27th. Although California strawberry shipments should increase for Easter, loadings are still expected to be well below normal.
Mexican strawberry shipments are also increasing. During the week of January 18-22 Mexico was averaging 160,000 to 180,000 trays. The following week there was at least 20 percent.
Above average rainfall in California from El Nino is expected to last into April, which could continue to make increases in strawberry volume a challenge.
A trend that is now adversely affecting early season shipments the past few years has been the shifting of strawberry field acreage away from Ventura County in Southern California, which is the earliest shipping district. Oxnard (Ventura County) has just over 6,800 acres of strawberries. That compares to the 10,300 acres planted just three years ago. Most of the grower/shippers have planted more strawberries in the Santa Maria district over the last few years, which is further north along the California coast.
The reason for the acreage shift relates to the varieties of the fruit. Oxnard needs a good short-day strawberry variety and there aren’t any good ones right now. Growers simply are not getting the yields in Oxnard.
Florida strawberry shipments are steady with adequate volume expected. About 90 percent of some shipper’s supplies from the Plant City, FL have already been pre-sold.
Still, the strawberry industry says there are never enough berries for Valentine’s Day, especially stem berries. These are always popular as a Valentine’s Day gift. Both Florida, as well as Mexican strawberry shipments are running ahead of last year’s totals, while California strawberry shipments are down a bit. Mexican strawberries are crossing the border in south Texas, as well as border crossings into California.
California reached the 1 million tray-per-week level in mid-January, but by the end of the month supplies had dropped below that threshold. However, California berry loadings are expected to increase each week in February as volume builds from Orange and Ventura counties.
Meanwhile, Southern California also has lettuce shipments as well as some other vegetables from the Coachella and Imperial valleys, plus from the nearby Yuma (AZ) district.
In south Texas, besides Mexican strawberries, there are a number of other items available ranging from vegetables, tomatoes, citrus and tropical fruit.
While Florida strawberries are coming out of the growing area just west of Tampa, Central Florida also is shipping in light volume vegetables, tomatoes and citrus.
Southern California berries – grossing about $4000 to Dallas.
South Texas/Mexican produce – grossing about $2400 to Atlanta.
Central Florida berries, veggies – grossing about $2200 to Chicago.