“Most of the bad fruit was on the ground or in juice plants when the survey was taken,” Sallin said. “The survey only shows what was on the tree. We will not see any freeze-damaged fruit shipped to consumers.”
On early season oranges, which include navels harvested through December but are sold through late January, 66% showed no damage with 11% harmed at quarter- and half-inch cuts.
For midseason oranges, surveys showed 54% undamaged with 20% sustaining damage at quarter-inch cuts and 20% at half-inch cuts.
On late season oranges, which include valencias that begin harvesting in late January and early February and run through June, 87% surveyed showed no apparent damage.
The Dundee Citrus Growers Association was finishing packing navels in late January and planned to start valencias in early February.
“We’ve seen a little damage but it is minor damage,” said Al Finch, vice president of sales and marketing for Dundee’s marketing arm, the Lake Hamilton-based Florida Classic Growers. “We have been very blessed and with the volume, we continued the course.”
On vegetables, Florida officials plan to examine the overall recovery rate in late January, Ivey said.
Lisa Lochridge, director of public affairs for Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Maitland, said the higher numbers weren’t surprising given that it normally takes some time to assess a true picture of damage.
“Growers are optimistic that the worst of the cold weather is behind us and we will have a much better outlook for the spring,” she said. “Volume is down and volume is thin in some areas, but the weather and growing conditions that we have moving forward will be key in how we turn this around into a more successful market.”
More favorable temperatures have help support crop recovery, Ivey said.
He said bell peppers, green beans, sweet corn, cucumbers and eggplant sustained the heaviest losses.