California Giant said it anticipates a strong start to the 2017 campaign, with acreage increases across all berry types and several new varieties on tap.
For the first time in several years, the company has expanded its acreage in Oxnard with two new short day varieties, Petaluma and Fronteras, reducing its reliance on day neutral varieties better suited to northern districts.
Similar increases in strawberry acreage in other growing regions within the state and in Mexico, as well as a rise in overall in blueberry volume for the year, year-round blackberries and an emerging raspberry programme for the autumn all make for a positive outlook the company said.
In addition to new acreage, the company said it was very optimistic about the more normal winter weather pattern in California this year providing rainfall, good chill and excellent plant health for the spring and summer harvest season on strawberries.
“This marks the second year in a row that rain has returned to the state and snow pack is almost at a normal range,” it said.
“The rainfall in California does provide challenges on forecasting volume during the first quarter especially as trading partners gear up for Valentine’s Day and build demand for stem berries. The sales team is already responding to requests and is optimistic about availability since they are sourcing product from California, Florida and Mexico.”
The company added that it would provide its trading partners with regular weather updates, up-to-the-minute crop information and marketing programmes throughout January to help build sales and consumer loyalty.