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Excitement grows as strawberry season begins in Santa Maria

Santa Maria Strawberries
Strawberries soak up the morning sun just east of Santa Maria on March 20, 2024. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – As spring arrives, so too does another much-anticipated strawberry season in the Santa Maria Valley.

"Springtime weather in Santa Maria is this is strawberry growing weather," said longtime Santa Maria Valley famer Randy Sharer, who owns Satellite Farms. "The season is just beginning. Now that we've gotten through most of the wet weather, we're looking forward to providing consumers fresh local strawberries throughout not only the Central Coast, but the country."

Sharer, along with other local farmers, are just beginning to witness the fruits of their labor as the strawberry season

"We are just entering into Central Coast Santa Maria, between Oxnard and southern San Luis Obispo County, for the next few months, your local growers will be producing millions of pounds of local fresh strawberries per week," said Sharer. "We encourage all your viewers to take the opportunity to buy outstanding fresh strawberries. Really, it's our pleasure to bring the fruit to folks, keep an eye out for it. It'll be the largest, firmest, freshest strawberries that you will see all year long. And it's coming from right here in the area."

With the start of the strawberry season comes the opening of a Santa Maria Valley tradition: roadside stands selling freshly harvested strawberries that come directly from local fields.

"Things have been going very well. You know, we've been getting a lot of Instagram messages and Facebook requests for flats of berries," said Diego Cardenas, with family-owned Little Pete's Farms in Orcutt. "The berries have been very good. They're very red this season so you know, they're definitely be juicy."

Cardenas said his family opened up their popular roadside stand along Highway 1 within the past few weeks.

"A lot of people have been very excited," said Cardenas. "We've got really good berries. We have a very good harvest coming up, so (the season) should be good."

As the rainy winter season recently passed into spring this week, farmers are happy to see more seasonal weather conditions take place.

"We don't plant strawberries and put them under a hat so they require sunshine," said Sharer. "Dry weather and the beds that we grow these strawberries on are from that way because strawberries sitting on in direct contact with soil would have an instant rotting problem, so the strawberry crop itself is ideally suited for Central Coast growing conditions, and again, those of us that grow the fruit are really happy to, you know, provide it to the consumer."

Article Topic Follows: Agriculture

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Dave Alley

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


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