Organic strawberries have faced the same challenges as all other commodities in Southern California. Supply is “challenged by rain in Southern California and a limited supply out of Baja,” said Christie Biddle, buyer for Earl’s Organic Produce. Specifically, Santa Maria and Oxnard.
Quality is compromised but still viable for certain uses. “Some southern California suppliers are stripping plants and mentioned quality is up to par for processing/freezing, but not for fresh sales after all the rain they received,” said Biddle. “Mexican fruit has been fairly strong with good color and flavor, but limited supplies.” Prices are stronger by $6-$8. Strawberries are in high demand, customers don’t view them as a seasonal summer item anymore since they’re available year round.
Biddle said California blueberry production has been much stronger this year, with good supplies of 12x6oz in the off-season winter months – “this is new!” Biddle has steady berries from Homegrown and Central West Produce in California and Rancho Don Antonio has started some production. They’re also offering Twin Rivers blueberries out of Mexico.