Tomato production increases after light fall volume

12/06/2013 12:20:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

In late November, central Florida harvesting was going well for Santa Sweets Inc., Plant City, which started South Florida harvesting.

“The crops look great,” Rick Feighery, vice president of sales for Philadelphia-based Procacci Bros. Sales Corp. and Santa Sweets, said in late November. “It’s a bumper crop for sure. There will be plenty of tomatoes for Christmas and New Years.”

Wimauma-based Tomato Thyme Corp., planned to finish harvesting Quincy round reds and grape tomatoes in late November and increase central Florida production.

“The quality has been really good and the brix is turning out well,” Michael Lacey, director of sales and marketing, said in early November. “Our Sarasota farm looks good and is right on schedule. The supply is plentiful.”

During the 2012-13 season, Florida tomato growers packed 35.5 million 25-pound equivalent cartons of mature-green tomatoes, down from 38.1 million packed in 2012-13, said Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Maitland-based Florida Tomato Exchange.

Because the U.S. Department of Agriculture discontinued releasing tomato acreage, information is not available on the upcoming season’s plantings, said Skip Jonas, field compliance officer for the Maitland-based Florida Tomato Committee.

Though acreage fluctuates, Jonas said it’s likely similar to the most recent survey in 2011, which reported Florida growers planting 32,000 acres.


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