The California Strawberry Commission estimates about 20% of strawberries in the Monterey Bay region south of San Francisco are flooded after March storms.
“Preliminary assessments estimate hundreds of millions in losses and thousands of people displaced in the town of Pajaro,” Rick Tomlinson, president of the California Strawberry Commission, said in a statement following the flooding along the Salinas River.
The natural disaster occurred as farmers were weeks away from beginning to harvest on the state’s 400 family strawberry operations.
“This catastrophe hit at the worst possible time,” Tomlinson added.
On March 25, 2023, the California Strawberry Commission reported a 61.2% lower fresh strawberry tray inventory compared to the same time last year.
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Strawberry prices are almost certain to increase in the future on top of recent price growth. Berry sales increased 41% in 2021 and an additional 8.7% in 2022, according to the producer price index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The California Strawberry Commission estimates that 90% of strawberries grown in the U.S. originate in California.
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