Florida strawberry growers open seasonPLANT CITY, Fla. — Florida’s strawberry season has started.

Grower-shippers in late November began “scrapping” or harvesting small amounts of strawberries from fields.

Volume builds in December and typically enters promotable volume by late December and early January.

For SunnyRidge Farm-Dole, Winter Haven, strong harvesting volume began three weeks earlier than normal, said Keith Mixon, president.

“We have great quality from what I have seen,” he said Dec. 1. “We had some trials and tribulations with the earlier heat we had, but nothing we couldn’t overcome.”

Mixon said buyers should look for larger volume to hit Dec. 10 with the industry bringing promotable volume as usual in late December.

Ted Campbell, executive director of the Dover-based Florida Strawberry Growers Association, said early season fruit looks strong.

“Everything I see now has been positive so far,” he said in early December. “We are in the early part of the pickings. Things won’t get serious until later in December though a couple of guys were picking good volume a couple of weeks ago."