Though the California rain has had an impact, and volume is currently a bit later than last year, Watsonville, CA, based Seven Seas Berry Sales is anticipating that total volume for 2017 will be very similar to 2016.
“To date the bulk of our production has come from our Mexico fields, where volume and quality has been outstanding,” said Marketing Specialist Bre Macomber in early March. “We expect Santa Maria to increase in volume over the next several weeks.”
She added that the later start to the Mexican deal has allowed the firm, which is a division of the Tom Lange Company, to ship a bit longer from Mexico than usual. That is a reality this year that has helped keep berries at retail even as California experienced monsoon-type rain conditions during several different time periods in January and February.
Speaking specifically of the Mid-March to May time frame, Macomber added: “Barring any additional drenching rainfall, Santa Maria’s volume should increase throughout that time period and we should see the start of Watsonville in late April. With Easter falling later in April, we should be well positioned with our Santa Maria and Mexico volume to help our customers take advantage of holiday sales.”
She didn’t discuss specific promotional plans but the firm’s spokesperson said Seven Seas is in close contact with its retail partners throughout the year examining merchandising efforts “to maximize promotional opportunities.”
With berry ground in Mexico, Santa Maria and Watsonville, the firm is well positioned to be in the strawberry deal for as close to 12 months as possible. In early March, with about a week hiatus from storms under its collective belt, volume from California was starting to ramp up. “We are really excited about our California production because with the rain that we have experienced the plants look vigorous and healthy,” Macomber said. “Our production in Mexico is still going strong and we expect that to continue through March or mid-April.”
This year the company has not experienced any changes on its sales staff which is a good thing. “We have a very experienced sales staff in Watsonville that have all be in the strawberry business over 20 years,” she said. “The California strawberry deal is certainly our focus, because of our presence in multiple districts and the overall length of the season.”