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The State of the Strawberry Industry

Jul 31, 2014

StrawberriesWhile Central Coast dwellers might be rejoicing at the warm nights in the Bay area, the recent weather there has the strawberry industry in a tizzy.

Strawberry production is heavily dependent on night time temperatures, when the plants are respirating. Slightly cool night temperatures are essential, as it reduces respiration and allows berries to achieve optimal size, firmness, and resilience to endure cross country shipping. The sweet spot for berry growth occurs when it is 41-51 F at night. Anything lower than that slows down growth and production. Warmer weather increases berry respiration and causes even more troubling problems.

The current heat wave in the Central Coast is due to the hot ocean water in Monterey Bay. There has been a lack of Northern Alaska wind, which has resulted in an absence of rip tide to stir up cool water from the deep. One surfer in the area even said "it's starting to look like SoCal around here" noting the obvious lack of wet suits! This hot water has been causing some of the most prolonged, warmest nights in recorded history for the strawberry growing districts. The temperatures are barely dipping into the upper 50's. Also, the consequential humidity is making weekly mildew control applications necessary for the growers. 

By our estimations, this will continue until about August 16th. Until then make sure to communicate the following to your customers:

  • Expect bruising to be as high as 20%
  • Expect smaller sizes, up to 32 count
  • Don't overbuy and hold too long, this product is not very strong!
If you have any further questions on the state of the strawberry industry, make sure to contact our Salinas office!

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