It was only January, but 22-store Nob Hill Foods, part of the Sacramento-based Raley’s Supermarkets chain, already was featuring California strawberries on ad.

“We’ve been having nice weather, so we’re already getting some good-looking strawberries,” said Manuel Rodriguez, produce manager for a Salinas location.

“Usually, we have a nice end cap,” he said, about 5 by 4 feet.

For Valentine’s Day and to a lesser extent for Easter, the store offers giant stem berries and chocolate dipped strawberries.

“They’re kind of pricey, but they’re worth it,” Rodriguez said.

Strawberries are on ad at least every other week during the summer, he said.

Rodriguez sees a 7% to 8% sales boost when strawberries are on ad, he said.

“This is a high-volume store,” he added, “so that’s a lot of money.”

During the winter, the typical strawberry display at the five Buffalo, N.Y.-based Dash Markets Inc. stores is about 3 to 4 feet wide, but during peak season, produce director Patrick Ferrara more than doubles that to 8 feet.

“People love that fruit,” he said. “It’s a growing category.”He cross-merchandises strawberries with shortcakes and whipped cream so shoppers “can grab everything right there.”

Sometimes at Nob Hill Foods, Rodriguez also sets up displays in other parts of the store, like by the entrance or in the bakery department, where the berries are cross-merchandised with pound cake.

Rodriguez also cross-merchandises strawberries with pound cake and whipped cream in the produce department.

Shoppers tend to pick up strawberries more often when they see all the ingredients for strawberry shortcake in one spot, he said.