Jan 30, 2023
Rain, cold weather putting damper on strawberry supply ahead of Valentine’s Day
Extensive rains in California and cold weather in Florida in Mexico are contributing to light supplies of both organic and conventional strawberries as the traditionally strong Valentine Day’s retail period approaches.
A preliminary survey by the California Strawberry Commission found that of California’s total 2023 strawberry plantings of 31,852 acres, 1,840 acres, or about 6%, face catastrophic losses.
Jeff Cardinale, CSC communications director, said the damaged acreage has not been broken down into organic versus conventional, but said it likely mirrors the general acreage split. He said 12.6% of California’s strawberry acreage is projected to be organic in 2023 — a 10% increase over 2022.
The acreage disparity could mean a greater effect from rain damage on ongoing organic supplies, said Andrew Rice, vice president of field operations and product supply at California Giant Berry Farms in Watsonville, California.
“Both conventional and organic crops are impacted in the same way,” Rice said. “The only difference is that there is a smaller total amount of organic acreage, so any affected (organic) ranches will have a larger impact on the overall organic volume.”
— Organic Produce Network