Apr 6, 2018
California rainstorms blamed for low Easter strawberry supply

A blip in the U.S. Strawberry supply was caused by three days of rain in California, a top produce industry official said.

Local media in the United States such as Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV earlier reported that fresh markets were running out of strawberries during the Easter weekend when the red berries are popular for fresh eating or use in holiday dishes.

“That was just weather-induced,” said Thomas AmRhein, the vice president of Naturipe Berry Growers and Chairman of the California Strawberry Commission (CSC).

California, which is the only state that commercially grows strawberries year-round, produces nearly 80 percent of U.S. strawberries.

The Weather Network reported atmospheric rains hit central and southern California March 20. Rains lasted 72 hours,  adding heavily to California’s rainfall to date.

The National Weather Service tracked heavy rainstorms, especially March 22 and 23, across California and Nevada.

AmRhein said the days of rain came during what he calls “the Easter pull” when growers harvest shipments for distribution during the Easter weekend. It was difficult to source the berries from elsewhere.

The storms came when Chilean strawberries had run out and Florida production was not yet fully in swing, he said.

–  Stephen Kloosterman, Assistant Editor


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