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Weather shifts strawberry demand Westward

florida strawberry growers association – frozen strawb copy
Growers had ample time to prepare for the late January freezing temperatures and irrigate crops to protect green fruit and blooms with ice, according to the Florida Strawberry Growers Association.

Florida’s weather problems are shifting strawberry buyers to look West, and prices are likely to rise as a result.

“Low Florida temperatures are shifting strawberry demand to the West,” Markon Cooperative BB #:123315 reported. “Prices are rising in all regions as Valentine’s Day demand ramps up.”

Weather is forecast to be dry and mild in both Oxnard and Santa Maria, CA, growing regions this week, as early season volume ramps up.

Markon says sizing is good from both regions, trending to size large in Oxnard (12-14 per 1-pound clamshell) and also size large from Santa Maria (10-12 per 1-pound clamshell).

Weather in Central Mexico is also good with volume increasing, but sizing is smaller with pack counts of 17-21 berries per clamshell, according to Markon.

Charts by Agtools

Florida’s production slowed with the cold and continued rain, but “quality is holding up well despite recent freeze events,” Markon says.

According to ProduceIQ’s BB #:368175 weekly analysis, Valentine’s Day strawberries are getting more expensive.

“Strawberry prices are bounding upwards in response to cooler weather across all growing regions. Strawberry prices typically decrease throughout February and into Spring as multiple growing regions enter peak production periods.

“Up +18 percent over the previous week, from $14 to $18, strawberry markets are contradicting characteristic industry price trends. Expect supplies and logistics to be challenged until after the holiday demand wears off.”

USDA prices have shown an increase since late January, but in early February, are consistent with the previous three years in the $15-20 range per flat of 8 1-pound clamshells.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services