California fresh strawberry shipments continue to fall behind previous years. The lower volume from California is expected to continue for a few more weeks. Cold and wet temperatures have slowed the crop down significantly. This is the slowest start to the season in many years.
At the Processing Strawberry Advisory Board meeting yesterday it was decided that a price posting date of May 15 will occur this year. It typically is set around the first week in April, but the conditions this year make it so that the crop is expected to switch to processing much later than usual. The fresh market should continue to stay strong up until Mother’s Day or even later if the fruit quality holds.
Wet conditions continue to prevail across California. One storm after another has hit the state with more to come early next week. Strawberry fields have been hit the hardest by all of this. At the PSAB board meeting yesterday Rick Tomlinson from the California Strawberry Commission reported that 2,253 acres of strawberries in the Watsonville and Salinas district have been flooded by the levee breaches. Other areas of the state have also lost acreage. Many of the flooded acres in the Watsonville / Salinas district may not be able to recover this year.