Heat, smaller sizes mark opening of Florida strawberry season - The Packer

Heat, smaller sizes mark opening of Florida strawberry season

01/08/2014 04:13:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

In mid-December, Wishnatzki reported flats of eight 1-pound clamshells from Florida selling for $20-22.95 with contracted product fetching $18.95, up from the $18-20 the open-market flats garnered in early December.

In mid-December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported insufficient sales of Florida strawberries to establish a market. However, those same flats medium-large from California were selling for $20-22 as of Dec. 23, lower than the $22.90-26.90 those containers sold for in early December last season.

“With the exception of the marketplace wanting to be less (in price) quicker, the season’s looking good,” said Steve Machell, sales manager for Dover-based Gulf Coast Produce Inc. “The growing season has been good. Some of the early festival varieties were a little small right out of the chute, but I think they’ll gain in size as the weather gets colder.”

This season, growers planted 11,000 acres, similar to last season, Campbell said.

Campbell said the deal should produce 28 million flats, up from last year’s 25 million flats.

The volume boost follows higher yields from increased plantings of the radiance variety.

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