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Agriculture

Cooler weather reducing supply of Santa Maria Valley strawberries

Strawberry

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- Cool weather on the Central Coast over the past few weeks is impacting the current strawberry crop in the Santa Maria Valley.

According to growers, the low temperatures are causing berries to take longer to grow and ripen, causing a reduction in the supply.

"It's been cool and also very windy," said Ana Ybarra of Little Pete's Farms. "We have lower production compared to last year. It's very low and we've been doing what we've been doing, but the weather is not helping."

Little Pete's Farm operates a fruit stand along Highway 1 near Rancho Maria Golf Course. Ybarra said the farm is producing an estimated 30 percent lower amount of volume compared to last year.

"Last year we had berries that we berries that we were able to deliver and we haven't done that this year because we don't have enough berries to do that," said Ybarra. "This year we only have enough berries to cover our stand."

Another area grower said his crop is about two weeks behind schedule.

On a positive note for growers, Thursday brought warm temperatures to the Central Coast, with Santa Maria reaching into the 80's.

"I'm so happy!" said Ybarra. "It's such a beautiful day. We need more days like today so the berries can develop. If we have more warm weather and it stays steady, the new blooms will develop the way they're suppose to and that will pick up the production."

The lower supply comes at the same time the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Cruzin' 2021 has kicked off its five-day run at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

At the end of the newly created modified event, attendees are able to purchase locally-grown strawberries at a drive-through stand.

"Towards the end before you leave there will be a booth that will have strawberries sold in flats, half-flats and baskets," said Rebecca Barks, event spokesperson. "We have Mar Vista. We have Manzanita. We have Driscoll's and Darensberries and Little Pete's. They are all coming on one day and will be showcasing and selling their strawberries."

However, Barks added supplies could be limited each day.

"We have a certain amount each day and we're hoping that as we see those numbers, we'll be able to add more if we need to," said Barks.

She added Strawberry Cruzin' organizers are hopeful they'll have enough strawberries to meet the demand of customers during the event, which lasts through Sunday.

For more information on Strawberry Cruzin' 2021, click here.

Business Matters / California / Events / Lifestyle / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.

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