The National Berry Report shows the Santo Maria growing district has harvested 2.9 million crates through March 31 compared to 5 million crates picked by this time in 2016. California as a whole is behind by 3 million crates with Mexico picking up the customers with a harvest for the first three months of 2017 that is 10 million crates ahead of the 2016 pace.
Local farmers say rain and muddy, wet conditions have meant trouble planting and harvesting crops including vegetables. One grower is optimistic things will pick up.
In Santa Maria, Main Street Produce Inc. says they will have a 20% increase in strawberry volume this season, said Paul Allen, president and sales director.
“We have a new ranch this year,” he told The Packer publication.
He told the paper that In early March, however, the company was running about a month behind because of rain. “We had to strip out quite a bit of green fruit that was damaged due to the rain,” Allen said.
The company should be up to speed by the first week of April, he said.
The peak harvesting season in California runs from April through June, when up to 10 million pint baskets of strawberries are shipped daily. The largest producing state, California harvests 79% of the strawberries grown in the U.S. on approximately 30,000 acres
About 4000 acres of strawberries are organic, up about 10% in the latest year and 11% of the set total strawberries.