Ask the Produce Expert: The Art of Growing Strawberries

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Today’s Expert: Naturipe Farms

Welcome to the 11th edition of our featured series, titled “Ask the Produce Expert.”  In this series, we feature one of our partner growers, suppliers or commodity boards, and ask them farming industry-related questions that will help us, as consumers, become more educated on the food that we purchase and eat on a daily basis.  If you have a question that you want answered by an industry expert – it’s as easy as tweeting at me or posting  it on my Facebook page!  I am eager to work your questions into this series!

naturipe logoNaturipe Farms is a grower-owned organization, who prides themselves on consistently bringing healthy, good-for-you fresh berries to the table. Since 1917, generations of Naturipe farmers have produced berries responsibly, with integrity and respect, through all seasons of the year. Naturipe ensures year-round availability with a commitment to “locally grown” seasonal produce, their fresh berries are farmed in the most optimal growing regions throughout North and South America.

Along with cultivating “The Best Quality Berries”, Naturipe Farms is dedicated to sustainability. From sustainable farming practices, packaging choices and transportation alternatives, Naturipe is always looking to reduce their carbon footprint to ensure a brighter tomorrow.

Be sure to check out their “Cultivate with Care” Blog series to read more about their various sustainability practices:

To learn more about Naturipe Farms, visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! #Naturipe


In this edition of Ask the Produce Expert, Tony Marci, Naturipe Agriculture Manager, is our featured expert. Tony will share his knowledge and expertise about one of Naturipe Farms’ most popular berries… strawberries!

tony marci of naturipe farms
Tony Marci, Naturipe Agriculture Manager


Naturipe raspberries blackberriesWhat do you enjoy most about working for Naturipe Farms?

What I enjoy most about working for Naturipe is the interaction with our many growers across the country. I come from a farming family and I feel a strong connection to our “Family of Farmers”. They are hardworking people that remind me of both of my grandfathers who emigrated from Switzerland looking for a better life in the Salinas Valley of California.


strawberries in handWhat is your favorite way to eat strawberries?

My favorite way to eat strawberries are in a fruit salad during family parties. I’m spoiled working at Naturipe so our fruit salads consist of 90% strawberries and 10% blueberries. It’s always a hit at the party and there are no leftovers!


Where are your strawberries grown, and why is it an ideal location for growing?

The California Coast is ideal for growing strawberries because of the cool coastal climates with warm days, and cool nights. Our California strawberries are grown in Watsonville, Salinas, Santa Maria and Oxnard. But we also grow in Florida and Mexico, which allows us to provide strawberries year-round.

Check out Naturipe’s berry growing map here:


strawberry fieldWhen is the prime strawberry growing season in the United States?

The prime strawberry growing season in the United States is the spring and summer! Our peak strawberry growing season is from March – August.


Can you explain the different steps in the harvesting process of strawberries?

Strawberries are packed in the field, and each season our harvesters work hard to harvest the best strawberries from the plants. It takes experience and skill to select the strawberries at the peak of ripeness. Harvesters will check plants and look for ripe strawberries to pick and place in the clamshell. Once their box is filled, they are then inspected and sent off to the nearest cooler. From the cooler, the strawberries are then loaded in temperature regulated trucks and off to the nearest grocery store!

 Fun Fact: Strawberry plants are typically harvested twice a week!


naturipe strawberry clamshellWhat should I look for when selecting my strawberries?

When picking the perfect clamshell of strawberries, first look for the Naturipe label. Then be sure to look for clean, dry berries that are plump, firm and fully red. The caps should be green and fresh looking, and avoid any bruised berries.

Learn more here:

strawberry closeupWhat is the best way to store strawberries, and how long is the expected shelf life?

When you return home from the store, be sure to place your berries into the refrigerator as soon as possible to maintain the longevity of the berry. Ensure the berries are dry and store them in their original container until you ready to eat them! Also, be sure to rinse the berries right before usage. When handled and stored properly (refrigerated at temperatures of 33-34 degrees Fahrenheit) strawberries can achieve a shelf-life of 3-7 days after purchase!

Where can I buy Naturipe strawberries?

You can purchase Naturipe organic and conventional berries at many stores across North America and Canada. You can see a full list here: retailer logos


Well, that concludes the 11th edition of our Ask the Produce Expert series!

A big thank you to Tony Marci for sharing his expertise and insight on the strawberry farming business.

I learned so much… I cannot wait for our next Ask the Produce Expert blog!

#FreshProduce rules – thank you for serving fruits & veggies to your family!!!

xoxo The Produce Mom

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About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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  1. Bravo Tony! Naturipe is the best of the best and I would never buy any other brand of strawberry other than strawberries grown by this expert in the field. Delicious and always consistent quality!

    1. Tina, I stumbled on a recent article where you and your husband were honored by Cal Poly.
      I just read some of the other things you are doing.
      I am proud of you. Very proud.
      I do not have your email.
      I will try this.