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California Giant Berry Farms preparing for fall harvest

California Giant Berry Farms has had a fall berry program for years and considers it part of its everyday offering.

“Santa Maria produces a new fall strawberry crop every year to complement our fall production,” said Cindy Jewell, vice president of marketing for the Watsonville, CA-based company. “Our Watsonville/Salinas districts are still in production from the spring peak well into the fall and will produce promotable volume into November or when the winter weather sets in.”

Santa Maria helps with that volume with new fruit that is expected to begin close to Labor Day based on weather conditions, and will also continue until winter takes hold. 

flowerpower33 “Typically, as the days get shorter and nights get cooler, Mother Nature determines how long the fall season will last for strawberries in California,” Jewell said. “We hope to continue the season well into November for both regions.”

California Giant Berry Farms also offers other berry types that provide variety throughout the fall as well. Raspberries and blackberries grow in California, which ultimately shift in late fall to Mexico providing a transition into winter availability for both berry types. 

“Our blueberries are also in full production throughout the fall with the majority of the volume coming from the Pacific Northwest and we expect strong volume until the end of September when the region shifts to South America,” Jewell said. “For us, blueberries and raspberries have seen the biggest growth in the fall as we focused on filling gaps in the season to prevent stops and starts in promoting with our trading partners.”

Ideally, California Giant Berry Farms works to ensure it is building a program that flows from one region to another as smoothly as possible to avoid supply disruptions and keep the product department display shelves full.

“Quality, supply and service are key. The fall is a time period where there are many shifts in growing regions with some coming into volume and other areas slowing of volume so it is critical for us as a supplier to communicate with our customers and the consumer,” Jewell said. “We want to be transparent and ensure we are taking care of our loyal customers.”

This is done through a weekly e-blast with complete crop information, forecasts, photos and other important news that California Giant Berry Farms’ trading partners receive every Thursday. 

“They have come to rely on this communication and the feedback we receive is that they value the honesty and transparency of this weekly report,” Jewell said.

While the spring berry season didn’t start so well, things have improved in the summer and the outlook for fall remains high.

“We went through a strategic planning process at the end of 2018 and this year have a new set of goals and sense of mission helping us be an even stronger team here at California Giant,” Jewell said. “Each department has specific goals in several categories that we are all focused on that feed into and support the overall company mission and vision. We are very focused on quality, working together and looking to the future and excited about what we are accomplishing every day.”