Hardy Strawberry Varieties Extend Coastal Harvest

Celaya said the strawberry harvest should shift by the end of October from fresh to processing strawberries. However, the absence of rain and newer varieties were giving strawberry growers a longer than usual fresh market season.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a market like this into October in a long time,” he said.

Newer varieties, such as Albion released by UC Davis two years ago, are giving coastal growers a longer production season by resisting wet weather diseases and helping reduce adjustments at the receiving end.

“Right now with the Albion variety we are at about 2 percent adjustment. It’s a stronger variety with sweeter fruit,” Celaya said.

He said botrytis pressure is building in coastal strawberries as warmer daytime temperatures and cooler nights create an inversion layer that aggravates the disease.

“We are dealing more with botrytis as the weather becomes more favorable,” he said.

Given the relatively flat market for strawberries and high fungicide costs, growers are opting for less expensive options such as Captan and Thiram on two-week rotations, he said.

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