Florida grower-shippers for the most part escaped serious damage from a cold front that brought near-freezing temperatures to the Sunshine State.
In early reports, most grower-shippers didn’t suffer any losses from the cold temperatures in the overnight hours of Feb. 17.
“Fortunately, we’ve not heard any reports of damage from the cold temperatures last night and early this morning,” Lisa Lochridge, director of public affairs for Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association in Maitland, said Feb. 18. “There may have been scattered pockets of frost, but it appears that the crops fared well.”
Gene McAvoy, a multi-county vegetable agent in LaBelle, Fla., said temperatures didn’t sink too low in southwest Florida to harm the region’s tomatoes, bell peppers, squash and eggplant.
“We had very minimal damage,” he said Feb. 18. “The coldest I heard about in Hendry, Collier, Lee and Palm Beach counties was 35 degrees around 2 a.m. Temperatures were plummeting quickly and it looked like it would go into a freeze, but they stabilized and actually increased.”
McAvoy said he did hear of a small amount of burn on some tomatoes and eggplant in Charlotte County, north of Fort Myers, Fla.
For the bulk of southwest Florida, McAvoy said it received patchy frost on wastelands and other nonproductive croplands.