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CBS Farms moving into strong volume

With the forecast that California’s rainy season is essentially over, CBS Farms LLC, was looking forward to increased volume and the re-start of the deal near its headquarters in Watsonville, CA.

IMG 8687A box of Beach Street Farms strawberries. CBS Farms is the marketing arm for Beach Street Farms.“We did start up here before the rain but then we were out (in Watsonville) for the past three weeks. We should start again next week,” said Charlie Staka, who handles operations for the company, on March 27.

Much of March delivered rain to California, which resulted in an on and off production pattern. However, warm weather took hold the last week of the month and grower-shippers were expecting strong volume to kick in soon, and last for the next six months. Staka said retailers should look for promotable volume and pricing by the second week in April. He expected volume to continue to climb throughout April as it heads to its peak production weeks. Typically California volume stays north of six million trays per week from late April through the summer holiday months.

CBS Farms is anticipating that its own volume will be very similar to last year. California as a whole continues to register small declines in acreage while total production continues to climb. Staka opined that the industry could be its own worst enemy as it continually shifts toward better yielding varieties, producing a situation where it is outpacing demand. While demand continues to increase, he said the grower’s ability to surpass it with new varieties and new technology is also evident. In fact, Staka said winter production from Mexico and Florida did out-perform demand resulting in some challenging markets this past season.

To help counter that internally, CBS Farms is changing its Mexican operation for 2018/19 season by opening its own office south of the border and staffing it with its own personnel. Staka said that would give the firm more control over its production and harvest. The plan is to open the office in the summer to oversee plantings for fall production.

CBS Farms is the marketing arm for Beach Street Farms and markets the production under several labels including Beach Street Farms, Coleen and Surfside Organics.