California Giant Berry Farms Details Strong Berry Volumes; J.T. Tipton and Markus Duran Share
WATSONVILLE, CA - Retailers can start gearing up for a giant boost to the berry category thanks to California Giant Berry Farms. Led by its robust strawberry production in Florida and Southern California, the provider is reporting strong volumes of the full berry patch this season.
“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,” stated District Manager J.T. Tipton. “Simultaneously, mild winter weather conditions, coupled with healthy plants have pushed our Southern California strawberry supply about 15 percent ahead of where it was last year at the same time.”
As Tipton noted, industry-wide challenges have impacted the produce sector since the beginning of the pandemic, and inflation, labor issues, and logistics challenges are still problematic for the industry despite peak volumes coming out of Florida and on the horizon for the Southern California region.
“We’re anticipating peak volumes out of Oxnard to start in late March and throughout April. Santa Maria is not far behind with its peaks anticipated in April throughout May,” Tipton explains. “Watsonville and Salinas are gearing up to start harvesting as early as next week; I expect the area to hit its peak in June. As a whole, we’re looking at a very strong volume in May—which is great timing to compliment National Strawberry Month promotions.”
This optimism extends to the supplier’s blueberry category, as shared by Markus Duran, Director of Bushberry Supply.
“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,” noted Duran. “The Florida blueberry season is about two weeks away from harvest with a potential loss of 10–15 percent looming. We’re still confident our Florida growers will kick off the domestic blueberry season strong.”
As noted in a press release, California Giant’s acreage of bush berries, including raspberries and blackberries, has increased across the board, leading to a consistent supply of exceptional fruit year-round.
In addition, the supplier’s Oxnard, California, organics program has increased production on a weekly basis since the beginning of December, with its peak strategically planned earlier than ever to meet evolving consumer needs for Stateside blueberries. Peak volumes out of Oxnard are forecasted for mid-March through May.
With this expected influx of berries around the corner, California Giant will be unleashing multiple strategic consumer engagement opportunities to build brand awareness and drive purchase intent for fresh berries.
For more crop updates from across the fresh produce industry, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow.