Posted: Jun 20, 2012 10:24 PM by Hope Hanselman, KSBY News
Updated: Jun 22, 2012 12:47 AM
Santa Maria strawberry farmers say they could have record high production this year.
California's Strawberry Commission reports Santa Maria is already up by more than 30 million pounds from last year.
It's all thanks to our strange weather. It was a cool winter and a dry spring, but if you ask a strawberry grower, they'll tell you those are the perfect conditions to grow their sweet little fruit.
"So far this year, it's turned out to be a very good year," Dave Peck, General Manager at Manzanita Berry Farms, said.
Dave's been growing strawberries on the Central Coast for decades. But this year, he's hitting it big.
The Strawberry Commission says Santa Maria has already produced almost 350 million pounds.
"Nobody is complaining about poor production this year. It's all been fairly good to better than average."
Dave says it's a result of our "weird weather."
"After 29 years of growing plants, all I can tell you is every year the weather is weird."
2012 is no acception.
Cooler than normal overnight temperatures all winter long left strawberry plants stronger in the spring.
And, Santa Maria rainfall is more than 4.25 inches below normal. But, too much rain can cause problems.
"It can damage some of the ripening fruit. So, we haven't had to throw away a lot of rain-damaged fruit this year."
Lots of fruit saved, and even more grown.
Strawberry growers nation-wide planted about 3% more acres than last year.
"In general, that can suppress the market prices as supply goes up. A lot of times we do get a little worried about how they're going to move all that fruit."
Dave says his years in the industry have taught him that the risk is worth the reward.
"You know, you can lose money with lots of fruit. But, you'll never make money if you don't have any fruit."
What's this mean for consumers?
Farmers say all that sunshine this year packed a lot more sugar into the berries.
So, we're looking at a very sweet crop.
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