Growers for San Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, which grows in Mexico and California, also were seeing nice plants, said Mark Munger, vice president of marketing.
The plants were healthier because the cool weather provided plenty of time for them to establish their roots, he said.
“If we start with healthier plants, we will have healthier plants throughout the season,” he said.
The Orange County growing area, about 100 miles southeast of Oxnard, also experienced lower-than-usual temperatures, said Matt Kawamura, partner in Orange County Produce Inc. LLC, Irvine, Calif.
Volume was down and growers were two to three weeks later than usual because of the weather and because many switched away from the short-day varieties like the ventana and camarosa to day-neutral varieties like the san andreas and albion, he said.
In Santa Maria, about 100 miles north of Oxnard, Corona Marketing Co. picked its first strawberries the second week of January, a little earlier than usual, said president Jose Corona.
The berries were looking good, he said Feb. 4, and volume should gradually increase, with full production expected by around March 18.