Though L&M planted cucumbers on schedule after the December freezes, Lytch said a favorable growing season has accelerated plant growth so that cucumbers should begin harvesting in early March, about a week ahead of schedule.
“The spring cucumbers are looking really well,” Lytch said in late February. “We have had cooler than normal weather to start with, but it has been nice and warm. The cucumbers are really going well.”
L&M, which packs south Florida product from Immokalee and north Florida production in Moultrie, Ga., plans to switch to north Florida production in mid-April.
Wm. P. Hearne Produce Co. LLC, Wimauma, is shipping cucumbers this spring, but has lessened its volume.
Jeff Williams, president, said the crop has been challenging.
“Getting the yields has been difficult,” he said. “We haven’t been getting the pickings. The costs are so high to grow them.”
Formerly growing on several hundred acres, Williams said Hearne cut acreage to 100 acres.
Hearne plans to begin its cucumbers in early April and finish harvesting in mid-May before the heat and sun take away the plant’s color.
Central Florida production normally starts harvesting in late March and early April and runs through mid- to late May.
South Florida production typically begins in early November and finishes in early December before returning in mid- to late March and running through mid- to late May.
J&J has Florida growing operations in Palm Beach County, Clewiston, Immokalee, LaBelle, Arcadia, Okeechobee and Fort Pierce.