The late date for Easter means a shorter window between Easter and Mother’s Day, May 11, and Memorial Day, May 26, providing an opportunity to build up marketing momentum all month long, Jewell said.
Watsonville-based CBS Farms started harvesting the third week in December, about two weeks earlier than usual because of the good weather, said Charlie Staka, director of sales.
“Quality has been excellent so far,” he said in late January, and berry size was good.
The company traditionally picks out of Southern California until Mother’s Day, and then moves north to the Watsonville area.
“SoCal quality has been awesome this winter,” added Michelle Deleissegues, marketing director for Red Blossom Sales Inc., Salinas.
Although some varieties start out slow, production should be smooth and steady “with outstanding fruit quality,” she said.
Andrew & Williamson assures that it will have adequate supplies during the winter by sourcing from several growing areas.
“November through April is the most challenging months of the year for weather,” said John King, vice president of sales. So the company has a “geographic diversity” program, growing strawberries in Oxnard, Baja California and central Mexico.
“We’re leveraged in three different regions, so if there’s a rain event or cold event we’ve got other options available to make sure we’ve got that supply.”