California Giant Berry Farms' J.T. Tipton and Markus Duran Report Berry Market Conditions
WATSONVILLE, CA - The second shelf of my fridge currently resembles a full berry patch one might see at retail—I can’t get enough! California Giant Berry Farms is one supplier making sure product hits the plate, and I recently spoke with J.T. Tipton, District Manager, and Markus Duran, Director of Bushberry Supply, to get a read on the market.
“April and May will offer a large promotable volume of strawberries coming out of California,” J.T. began telling me. “The market is currently on a fast track of coming out of a tight market into steady for all four berry types.”
Strawberry production is currently focused in Oxnard, Santa Maria, Watsonville, and Salinas, California, regions. Blueberries are moving through Florida; Georgia; Oxnard; Central Valley, California; and Mexico, which is currently in its peak while the California supply begins to climb in volume. In Southeast Florida, blueberries are a couple weeks away from their peak, while Georgia began its pick over the weekend. Both raspberries and blackberries have production out of Mexico.
J.T. relayed that strawberry quality is very good, and volume is running approximately 15 percent ahead of where California Giant was last year at this time, primarily due to optimal growing conditions. Markus added that blueberry and raspberry quality and volume are about the same as last year, while blackberries are experiencing a volume boost of 75 percent due to increased acreage.
“The pricing market is the same as previous years, generally speaking. The trend typically follows the growing region transition, of which we’re in right now,” Markus said. “All four berries have strong pricing currently slightly above last year for this time.”
While 2022 weather has been relatively mild with little to no devastating negative events on berry crops globally, the company did report some recent impacts. Rain events throughout CA are expected to affect a week’s worth of ripe fruit, but California Giant reports that the benefits overall greatly outweigh any temporary quality issues. Markus added that freezes in CA, FL, and GA, have affected the grower’s early season blueberry production, with around 20 percent loss.
“Our large volume forecasts reflect optimal growing conditions, which means the entire industry is expected to have a lot of fruit available in the coming months,” J.T. and Markus concluded. “While consumers continue to remain focused on eating healthy and nourishing their bodies with food as medicine in the wake of the pandemic, this spring and summer is the ideal time for retailers to ensure that healthy and nutritious berries are at fingers reach—both in-store and online for shoppers to have a consistent supply of the entire berry patch.”
Stay tuned for more market updates from AndNowUKnow.