Celebrate Labor Day With California Strawberries!

Add California Strawberries to Your Labor Day Event

 

By Laurie Greene, Editor

 

Many people will be out and about with an extra day off on Labor Day, trying to get that last swallow of summer. They’ll crowd beaches, lakes, parks and backyard BBQs. What better way to celebrate the achievements of American workers than to add fresh-picked California strawberries to the menu?

Carolyn O'Donnell
Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director, California Strawberry Commission

 

“Any holiday can be celebrated with strawberries as they are available year-round,” said Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director of the California Strawberry Commission in Watsonville. “Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits around. They are sweet but low in sugar, and they are quite nutritious. People are often surprised to find out that having just eight medium strawberries gives you more vitamin C than eating an orange,” she said.

 

“Grown year-round, right now strawberries are coming mostly from the Salinas-Watsonville area on the Central Coast and also in the Santa Maria area,” noted O’Donnell. “As we get more into the fall there will be less coming from the northern sections and more from the Ventura County area to the south. Eventually strawberries will come out of Orange County and Northern San Diego County. The crop will roll back up the coast again with the New Year. By next April or May, strawberries will be coming mostly from the Watsonville area again,” O’Donnell explained.

generational_small strawberries

 

O’Donnell said that strawberry growers are very dedicated to growing the best possible product they can for their customers. “Their strawberries are actually often a crop of opportunity. A number of our farmers started as field workers and were able to work their way up to owning a farm because you can produce a lot of fruit and make a good living on a small amount of land.”

 

O’Donnell said supplies should be plentiful in the grocery store. “We probably have more fruit this time of year than usual probably because rain this past winter delayed harvest, which was good news. Now we’re just working our way along. Folks in the Watsonville areas are also beginning to start preparing their other pieces of fallow ground so that they can plant around Thanksgiving and produce next year’s crop,” she said.

 

Photos: Courtesy of California Strawberry Commission

Ventura County ACP Report Less Than Uplifting

Joanne O’Sullivan, a licensed PCA and QAL (Qualified Applicator), and a Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program Grower Liaison in Ventura County, reported TODAY that four new urban settings with 25 or more citrus trees on the property have been discovered in Asian citrus psyllid treatment areas in recent weeks. These four finds are within the same area as the commercial Camarillo find in March.

CDFA deems these orchards also as commercial; therefore, the homeowners are financially responsible for the treatment.

O’Sullivan said, “The first two homeowners I contacted were more than willing to cooperate and take on the financial costs of spraying. They understand it is necessary for the benefit of both their trees and the health of Ventura County’s citrus industry. The third homeowner opted to remove 15 of his trees and CDFA then sprayed the remaining ten. The last and remaining homeowner will take a bit more convincing, but I am confident they will come to see the great benefits of working with us.”

“On a less uplifting note,” O’Sullivan continued, “it has been an unlucky month for Fillmore and Piru producers. Piru has been hit again in the Bardsdale area with two ACP confirmations in the same week. These same growers had completed the ACP psyllid spray protocol in November of last year. It goes without saying that the producers are less than delighted to be repeating treatment again so soon.”

She reiterated a very important element in the ACP/HLB program,
”The goal of the [Ventura County ACP-HLB] Task Force has been to delay as long as possible the introduction of HLB into Ventura County. As a result of the progressive and aggressive work from producers, packers, pest advisors, operators and the CDFA and county trapping programs, Ventura remains one of the most successful ACP/HLB programs in the state.

A critical element of ACP treatment protocol for organic growers is the importance of scouting post-treatment. All blocks must be aggressively monitored following applications, using the sampling protocol that is included in the ACP CONFIRMATION IN YOUR AREA packet.

Current protocol requires organic producers to sample every two weeks after the third treatment. Sampling every two weeks allows the grower to document control. Early detection and swift eradication is our best defensive against the introduction of HLB and its devastating effects on Ventura citrus producers.

Every producer – commercial and organic – should be familiar with the signs of Asian citrus psyllid. Literature on identifying ACP is available at the CRB, UCIPM, UC Cooperative Extension as well as from CDFA. Share it with your workers. If you have any doubts about your ability to identify adults, nymphs, and eggs, please contact me, I am always glad to meet with you on your ranch and help you scout.

In closing, I was forwarded an interesting short news article outlining the economic hit Florida has taken as the result of HLB, with annual production dropping from 1,000,000 boxes of fruit to 750,000. This news story is a not- so-gentle reminder of why it is vitally important that everyone working together in a cooperative spirit can keep Florida’s scenario from happening in California.

Take a look:

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/us-orange-production-hit-disease-041911170.html#rOCRoWr

And let’s all keep up the diligent efforts that help keep Ventura’s citrus industry strong.

 

CPDPP

The California Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program is a grower-funded program administered by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee, which was established to advise the California Secretary of Agriculture and the agricultural industry about efforts to combat serious pests and diseases that could threaten our state’s citrus industry.

Key responsibilities are:

  • Develop informational programs to educate and train residential owners of citrus fruit, local communities, groups and individuals on the prevention/detection of pests, diseases and their vectors specific to citrus.
  • Develop programs for surveying, detecting, analyzing, and treating citrus pests and diseases.
  • Set box assessment to help pay for citrus pest and disease detection, treatment and educational outreach programs.

Photo Credit: UC ANR News Blog