California Strawberry Commission gears up for a fruitful season
The dedicated employees of the California Strawberry Commission are always working hard in collaboration with growers, shippers, and processors to share the joys of the state’s delicious, sweet, versatile, and flavorful strawberries.
“We are charged with promoting to and engaging with consumers to help elevate the California strawberry brand. We do that in three ways: we focus on the areas of health, farming and versatility as they pertain to California strawberries,” said Chris Christian, senior vice president of marketing for the commission.
Signs point to 2020 being a good year for California’s strawberry industry, largely because of weather, which havs brought rain in the north and cool overnight temperatures.
“We have a slight increase in acreage in California this year, so we do anticipate increased overall production in 2020,” Christian said. “I think we could potentially see record weekly production from Easter through Independence Day, so that’s the highest part of our peak season. So far, everything is good right now; we’re shaping up for excellent availability and excellent quality strawberries for consumers to enjoy.”
While strawberries are produced year-round in California, mid-March through September marks the season’s peak. Christian said that by late April or early May, California can ship 8 million to 9 million crates of fresh strawberries per week into the marketplace.
The CSC will get the word out about those delicious strawberries with the return of its Get Snacking summer consumer engagement initiative.
“We launched that campaign in April and it runs through August,” Christian said. “It’s a monthly contest that consumers can participate in via Instagram. We’re looking for the best strawberry snack of the summer. We ask consumers to create their favorite strawberry snack, post it on Instagram, and we pick winners each month. At the end of August, we take all of the monthly winners and select a grand prize winner.”
Last year, Get Snacking garnered almost 1,000 entries, which generated 2 million consumer impressions and more than 50,000 engagements with consumers. The grand prize was a $1,000 gift card, and Christian said this year’s top award is likely to be even bigger. The CSC is also using video to share the stories behind California strawberries.
“It’s really important to connect consumers to where their food comes from,” she said. “We do that by bringing video stories from the farm so that consumers can get a feel for how strawberries are grown and the love and passion behind California strawberry farming.”
Videos will include a series titled “A Day in the Life,” which gives viewers a look inside life of a farmer, or even of a strawberry plant itself, from the time it starts flowering until it produces fruit.
It’s all about letting people know about the world’s best strawberries, with that quality the result of two things — including the cool nights, warm days and ocean breezes of California’ central coast.
“It’s the best climate in the world for growing strawberries,” Christian said. “And the other thing that makes California strawberries so special is the love and the passion and the care of our farmers and the effort they put in every day to bring a delicious healthy safe fruit that consumers love into the market place.”