Florida grower-shippers for the most part escaped serious damage from a cold front that brought near-freezing temperatures to the Sunshine State.
Most grower-shippers in the central and southern regions didn’t report any losses from the low temperatures in the overnight hours of Feb. 17.
Southern, central and northern Florida remained under freeze warnings as temperatures fell into the mid-30s.
In north Florida, the thermometer dropped into the mid-20s and burned some of that region’s potatoes.
Danny Johns, owner of Blue Sky Farms in Hastings, Fla., said growers were assessing damage but said the younger plantings should rebound.
“If the grower did a good job of covering the plants, there are nice, green vines out there today,” he said Feb. 20. “Some of the warmest ground along the river got burned tops. The younger plants are more vigorous, so they can come back faster.”
North Florida’s potato deal typically starts in late April.
Kent Shoemaker, chief executive officer of Lipman, Immokalee, Fla., said south Florida tomatoes escaped major damage.
“We had some concern but we seem to come through pretty well,” he said Feb. 18. “We are still assessing the situation in the Palmetto-Duette areas, but the crops we are harvesting now, we feel they came through pretty well.”
Central Florida’s tomato production normally ends by early January.
Ted Wanless, chief operating officer of S. M. Jones & Co. Inc., Belle Glade, Fla., said the region’s sweet corn escaped damage.
“We had no damage with the cold weather,” he said Feb. 20. “There were some 35 degree temperatures around but thankfully, the wind returned at just the right time. The crop should be in good shape.”
Lisa Lochridge, director of public affairs for Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association in Maitland, said the organization didn’t hear any damage reports and said the crops fared well.