Organic Strawberry Production - 7/18/02
Organic Strawberries are a high value specialty crop. This workshop covered cultivation, harvesting and direct marketing of organic strawberries.
Marin County is well suited for the growing of high-quality and high-value organic strawberries. Growers have reached premiums of up to 50%, with net profits ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 per acre. Direct and niche marketing strategies can boost profits even higher. This workshop served as a starting point for anyone who wants to begin farming this potentially lucrative specialty crop. The workshop gave a market overview and also addressed planning, management, growing practices, and risks.
Sean Swezey: Sean, University of California, Santa Cruz, is a leading voice in the organic and sustainable farming movement.
Carolee Bull: Carolee, a Research Plant Pathologist for the USDA, is a specialist in cultivar selection for optimum strawberry production and the use of microbial innoculants.
Brandon Ross: Brandon farms 30 acres of strawberries, bushberries, and vegetables in the Pajaro Valley and has been farming strawberries for over 10 years. He specializes in the direct marketing of his farm berries and produce, and is continuing to innovate with both growing and marketing techniques.
Vanessa Bogenholm: Vanessa owns and runs VB Farms in the Pajaro Valley and farms over 30 acres of organic strawberries. She has diversified into direct mail, shipping fresh fruit, vegetables and jams overnight, and produces a value-added line of organic jams.
- General Info:
California leads the nation in strawberry production, accounting for 82 percent of the country-region strawberry crop. An intensive crop system, each acre produces an average of 21 tons of berries annually. Statewide production rose in 2002 to $12.5 million on over 1200 acres.
- Management options:
Strawberries: Organic and IPM Options - http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/strawberry.html
- Getting Started:
Weeks Berry Nursery - http://weeksberry.com/STRAW.HTML
- Guide for Growing Strawberries:
Manzanita Berry Farms - http://www.berries4u.com/growing.htm
- Fertilizer Resource: http://weeksberry.com/fertstraw.pdf
- Case Studies:
- Organic veresus Conventional Strawberry Production in California - http://www.agroecology.org/cases/organicstrawberry.htm
- Strawberry Production Systems - Cornell University - http://www.hort.cornell.edu/department/faculty/pritts/organic.htm
Frank Martin, USDA-ARS, Salinas, presented on management of soilborne pathogens Krishna Subbarao Effects of Brassica Rotation on Soilborne Diseases.