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California Giant Berry Farms’ latest crop update has forecast a promising US berry season led by its vigorous Florida and Southern California strawberry production.

JT Tipton, district manager at California Giant Berry Farms, predicted strong strawberry supply over the coming months.

However, he noted that the industry-wide challenges that have plagued produce since the start of the pandemic – Inflation, labor issues and logistics – were still problematic.

“Florida strawberries are currently hitting their peak. We’re seeing a week-over-week increase in top quality fruit, and we’re expecting solid volumes out of Florida through late March,” said Tipton.

“Simultaneously, mild winter weather conditions, coupled with healthy plants have pushed our Southern California strawberry supply about 15 per cent ahead of where it was last year at the same time.”

California Giant Berry Farms’ director of bushberry supply, Markus Duran, shared Tipton’s optimistic outlook for the company’s other categories.

“Despite the uncontrollable challenges from South America causing an early exit and our Florida-Georgia blueberry farms enduring an unprecedented freeze, blueberry production is still on track to beat all-time highs for the company,” said Duran. “The Florida blueberry season is about two weeks away from harvest with a potential loss of 10-15 per cent looming. We’re still confident our Florida growers will kick off the domestic blueberry season strong.”

California Giant Berry Farm’s Oxnard organics programme has also increased production every week since the beginning of December. Its peak – mid-March through May – is strategically planned earlier than ever, to meet growing consumer demand for stateside blueberries.

Positivity is also shared for raspberries and blackberries as California Giant’s bush berries production area has increased across the board.

To support the expected influx of berries, California Giant will employ several consumer engagement opportunities to build brand awareness and drive purchase intent for fresh berries.