Slimmer supplies and higher prices on California strawberries

From Fresh Plaza | 5 January 2022

Overview of strawberries from California in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on January 05, 2022. 

Strawberry supplies look a little tight right now out of California.

Volumes (in Kg) of strawberries supplies in the US Market, by origin
chart 2022 01 06T001001.932

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“The rain that we had a couple of weeks ago slowed things up. It was a heavy rain which is good because California needs water. But it slowed down the growth of the plants,” said Jim Grabowski of Well Pict based in Watsonville, CA. “We also had some cooler weather so the plants haven’t come back as fast as they should have come back. So for the next week and a half to two weeks, we’ll probably see tighter supplies.”

For Well Pict, its current production is out of Oxnard, CA. Grabowski also says that mid-January is when more appreciable volumes are expected out of the area.

Along with Oxnard, Florida is also in production currently as is Mexico. “So there’s probably enough berries in the pipeline for this time of the year,” he says.

Historical volumes (in Kg) of strawberries from Californiain the US Market
chart 2022 01 06T002320.561

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Weather and demand

Grabowski does note that supplies are meeting demand right now for strawberries. “With parts of the country getting pummeled with snow, there will be fewer people daring to go out to stores in those parts of the country so I think the supply is equal to the demand,” he says. “Winter demand always depends on weather in other areas. We could have great weather out of California but various winter storms in parts of the country affects demand.”

However strawberry supplies could look better for Valentine’s Day, a holiday that’s often associated with strawberries. “If the weather holds up and with things being pushed back like this, we just might hit enough stemmed strawberries for Valentine’s Day. This might be the perfect year if things cooperate from here on in,” says Grabowski.

Meanwhile pricing on strawberries is typical for this time of year. “It’s more than in peak production times and it will steadily decline as the volume picks up,” says Grabowski. “So by the middle of January, there will probably be a big difference in price from what it is now.”

Reported prices (in USD) of non organic strawberries  from California in the US Market
chart 2022 01 06T003011.907

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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