“The Florida start should ease the market considerably because volume has been so tight. No one looks forward to high-priced berries, but when they’re plentiful it’s certainly something to look forward to.”
Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC began harvesting light volume Nov. 21.Shawn Pollard, salesman, said Astin has only harvested a small volume.
Wishnatzki “Fruit quality is average,” he said Nov. 27. “Sometimes, the initial early fruit is a little bit tender and not as good as it should be, but we should have some high quality fruit in 10 days.”
Pollard said Astin’s owner, Sam Astin III, who grows on 1,000 acres, should start harvesting in early December with higher quality fruit entering the market by Dec. 10.
All varieties should be yielding with promotable volume by Dec. 20, Pollard said.
Dover-based BBI Produce Inc., began scrapping or light harvesting Nov. 20.
After a disastrous season last year, the new season is shaping up to be more typical, said Chris Smith, sales manager.
“Last year, we had more early fruit than we had in the past because of all the early heat,” he said Nov. 27. “This year, we started more normal with normal cool weather and things look really good. We are in a more previous year’s mode or average.”
Florida volume typically runs through late March with smaller volumes shipped into mid-April.