Gary Wishnatzki, president and chief executive officer of Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla., said freeze protection systems helped protect central Florida’s blueberries.
“The cold weather had no effect,” he said March 7. “In our region, we feel very comfortable that we haven’t been impacted by the cold at this point.”
Bill Braswell, president of the Bartow-based Florida Blueberry Growers Association, said he expects minimal berry damage.
“Every farm has a degree of damage in Florida,” he said March 7. “That is 1%-2% which mostly occurred in February. We’re still going to produce 25 million pounds this season.”
Lisa Lochridge, director of public affairs for Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Maitland, said she hasn’t heard of any other Florida crop damage.
Temperatures didn’t remain in the high 20s long enough in the north end of the state’s citrus belt to cause damage, said Andrew Meadows, director of communications for Florida Citrus Mutual in Lakeland.
Initial reports show little damage in Georgia, said Charles Hall, executive director of the La Grange-based Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association.
“I don’t think it’s a major problem,” he said March 5. “It may have gotten close to freezing but not enough that matters.”
Hall said Georgia growers haven’t started transplanting crops; cabbage and leafy greens dominate production now. He said blueberries and peaches haven’t budded yet.