Strawberries from California are at peak season volume levels with promotable prices.
“We are definitely in peak California strawberry season this month,” says Cindy Jewell of Jewell Marketing BB #:369225, whose client is berry grower Bobalu LLC BB #:354734.
“The great coastal weather in our Santa Maria fields brought on a longer and bigger peak than we expected. We have been communicating with our retail partners about the great quality and availability and really encouraging promotional pricing for the consumer.”
Markon Cooperative BB #:123315 reported June 21 that California strawberry supplies are strong with steady demand.
By region, Markon reports:
Volume is anticipated to climb as favorable weather is forecast. Extended high temperatures could affect overall fruit quality. Demand remains steady with no changes expected over the next two weeks. The season is at its peak. Volume will decline through July, causing markets to rise.
Fields are entering the back half of the season. Warm weather has increased stocks. Fruit size is medium (18-20 per 1-pound clamshell). Quality is good: some green shoulders have been reported
Supplies are extremely limited as most growers are finished harvesting for the season. Remaining quality is fair at best.
USDA reports FOB prices were $4-8 per flat of 8 1-pound containers of mediums, which is lower than mid-June any of the past three seasons.
According to ProduceIQ’s price index, strawberry prices are 77 cents per pound in week 24, down 7 percent from the previous week, and less than half of what they were in week 19 at $1.65/pound.
Jewell says with volume so high and prices low, consumers should be encouraged to buy more than normal.
“This is the time of year we are encouraging shoppers to buy that extra package and freeze for later or make jams and syrups since berries are plentiful and affordable,” she says.
“Additionally, with concerns about inflation and rising food costs, we need to work closely with our retail partners to ensure shoppers keep putting fresh berries in their cart and have a positive experience with quality and flavor.
“This means, at Bobalu we are diligent about staying on our regular harvest rotation and getting fruit cooled and shipped quickly so consumers do really enjoy the flavor experience and see value in their purchase.”