The Californian strawberries and the citrus to be watched post-storm

After Sunday’s significant rain and wind, there are still assessments of the fruit crop in California.

Strawberry: Nick Wishnatzki of Wish Farms says much of the strawberry harvest last week has been lost due to damage from rain. “We believe that we will lose 75 to 100 percent of the harvest this week because the weather is too dry for field activities in the coming days” the farmer says. saying that the storms are likely to be as or even more damaging than the actual accumulation of rain since they tore and destroyed the hoops of Santa Maria and Lompoc fields.

Right: Wish’s Lompoc fields on Monday. Right fields are located in Santa Maria, California.

In California Giant Berry Farms, Nick Chappell says that a lot of fields are not accessible, and it’s going to take a few days before we fully comprehend the impact of the storm. “Fields are inundated and submerged because of the rainfall. Luckily, the crews were prepared for the weather and began to plan ahead and reduce the extent of damage to the fruits,” Chappell says.

“This momentous weather phenomenon will be a challenge on the strawberry crop in California as well as Baja Mexico for the next couple of days,” says Steve Johnston from G.W. Palmer & Co.

The flowers’ berries are going to have to be taken off because of excessive moisture and a lot of the blooms that are on the plant now are likely to turn into a badly-shaped fruit.” Salinas Watsonville won’t be early as we had hoped just a few weeks back. I believe the demand for strawberries grown in the western region is likely to be extremely strong over the next few months,” says Johnston.

In Bobalu Berries, Cindy Jewell states that the plant has been hit by heavy winds and rainfall in Ventura as well as San Luis Obispo counties.” Wind is actually useful in helping dry out plants” claims Jewell and adds that the fruit has come into Mexico to provide the gap in supply for the near term.

California Giant Berry Farms’ Nick Chappell says many fields as seen on Monday, are not accessible as it takes some time to know the extent of the damage.

Citrus To prepare for the rainfall, a lot of growers have harvested ahead of time to make sure they have as much food in their bins as is possible. “We harvested navels in Kern County and local navels to satisfy customers, as we’re not planning to collect any navels because of the muddy conditions” Chris Diaz of Fillmore-Piru Citrus. Chris Diaz of Fillmore-Piru Citrus. For lemons, the fruit was picked earlier in Coachella, Borrego, Piru, Santa Paula, and Porterville. “With the lemons advancing in maturation, it is crucial that we pick when the orchards are run dry,” he says.

A strong demand exists for smaller-sized navels and lemons The market for small size lemons will likely to remain strong until spring. “With larger navels and lemons, we’ll be seeing the more fruit that is available as we get into the months of March and April. The fruit will grow only because of this rainfall and market prices will be extremely volatile for larger fruits.”

According to him, there’ll plenty of such as 40/48/56 navels or 75/95/115 lemons this year.

In California Citrus Mutual, Casey Creamer states that while the company was thinking that the effects of the storm might be greater, it’s the level of moisture within the fields as well as getting through them and out which will have to be dealt with in the coming days and roads are getting cleaned. “Things could dry out and based on the route and the location of the flooding likely to be a concern,” says Creamer. “In the region that we’ve been receiving major reports of flooding like Ventura which could slow picking for one week. Although, I’m not expecting significant market disruptions in the near future.”

“We aren’t planning to collect any navels this week because of the mud,” says Chris Diaz from Fillmore-Piru Citrus.

Similar to many other growers and shippers throughout the region Sunny Cal Farms picked ahead of the weather that swept through this weekend. “Not all shippers were able to obtain the exact product they wanted obtain, but that is due to labor issues,” says Sunny Cal’s CJ Buxman. “We’re not having a huge labor shortage this year. However, when the demand for harvesting increases dramatically in just 2 days, it’s bound to happen that anyone who wants to say receive five loads from an estate, will get three loads.”

The rain may persist through in the second half of this week, with the dry ground conditions that could hinder harvesting The fruit also has to be dried out since citrus rinds act similar to sponges, and they are also identified when they are harvested in wet conditions.

“On the organic front this is a bigger problem because organic post-harvest procedures aren’t able to use fungicides” Buxman says. Buxman pointing out that this implies there’s a greater amount of worry about the quality with organic citrus.

Buxman states that this will mean at the close of the week when rains have stopped, but conditions on the ground don’t permit harvesting, the fruit picked during the middle of last week is going to be a little older in the fruit. “Shippers are required to be sure the quality control process is improved towards the final week of the season since that’s the time we’re likely be able to notice some problems as well as the amount of fruit available is likely to drop.”

Markets which are sensitive to fluctuating prices may be able to see prices rising in the coming weeks. “For the retailers who are on plans, it’ll be about filling these programs especially in the beginning of the week. Make plans ahead as there will be a decrease in supply towards at the conclusion of the week.”

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Nick Wishnatzki

Wish Farms

Kyla Oberman

California Giant Berry Farms

Steve Johnston

G.W. Palmer & Co., Inc.

Cindy Jewell

Bobalu Berries

Chris Diaz

Fillmore-Piru Citrus

Casey Creamer

California Citrus Mutual

CJ Buxman

Sunny Cal Farms

Source: The Plantations International Agroforestry Group of Companies