US strawberry prices and availability showed minimal impact from California’s unseasonable mid-June heat wave. But consumers should expect tighter supplies and higher prices starting in late July and August as production shifts to the southern part of the No. 1 strawberry-growing state.
A Gro historical analysis shows that fresh berry market tightness typically accompanies transitions in production periods. Starting in late July, harvesting will begin to wrap up in Salinas (Monterey county), Watsonville (Santa Cruz county), and Santa Maria (Santa Barbara county), currently the main producing areas in the US.
Also in July, strawberry plantings and pre-harvest work will get underway around Oxnard (Ventura county), which can lead to reduced product quality and availability. Gro users can follow growing conditions for California’s strawberry-growing counties in Gro’s Growing Conditions app.
The production shift can be expected to push strawberry wholesale and shipping point prices up 10%-20% between August and September, according to Gro’s analysis of 10 years of pricing data. That is followed by considerably greater price increases, in the range of 60%-100% above summertime lows, in November/December, as the California season comes to a close and the availability of fresh strawberries depends mainly on Florida and North Carolina.
Higher than normal temperatures can have a detrimental effect on strawberries, but California’s June heat wave had minimal effect on the crop. That’s because temperatures in the state’s key strawberry growing areas stayed within the five-year average during the week of June 14, when temperatures elsewhere in the state shot above average, Gro indices show.
In fact, strawberry pricing held steady for the two-week period ended June 28, and was even down 20% from the same week in both 2020 and 2019. An abundant harvest assured adequate supplies and excess product is currently being diverted to freezers and processors that can take advantage of low market prices.
This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.