PALMETTO, Fla. — After starting mature greens 10 days later than last season, Florida tomato grower-shippers expect to begin full volume of fall shipments in mid-November.
Growers began light harvesting of grapes, cherries, romas and mature greens in late October.
Central Florida’s fall season normally starts around Halloween with harvesting building until mid- to late November, when promotable volume typically hits.
Tony DiMare, vice president of the DiMare Co., Homestead, said buyers should expect the Palmetto-Ruskin growing region to start promotable volumes by Nov. 18.
While DiMare began harvesting grape tomatoes in mid-October, it started romas and mature greens in late October, nearly two weeks behind last fall which was an earlier than normal start, he said.
DiMare said the west Florida deal near Quincy isn’t producing a lot of volume this season and also started two weeks later than usual.
He called Quincy’s quality good and characterized sizings as only fair.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Quincy growers so far this season have shipped 87 40,000-pound units, 47% of the 185 40,000 pound units they shipped last season in early November.
Quincy normally starts in early September and ships through late November.
DiMare said central Florida has experienced hot and dry growing conditions, but not as hot as last season, which kicked many blooms and made for poor plant sets.
“The quality of the fruit coming off that we started has been very good,” he said in early November. “The size has been very good. The yields have been respectable on the rounds.”
East Coast Brokers and Packers Inc., Mulberry, began harvesting grapes and cherries in mid-October and its mature greens in early November.
Batista Madonia Jr., vice president of sales and operations, said he expects more consistent volume to hit the week of Nov. 15.
“From what I am seeing, the crop looks very good and we should have good volume,” he said in early November. “We have had a good growing season and are in shape to produce a fine crop.”