Wish Farms, Plant City, also boosted its radiance plantings.
“Radiance is one of the early producers, but some of the other varieties also saw an earlier start this year,” said Gary Wishnatzki, president and chief executive officer.
“We have always maintained a good mix of varieties. It helps with keeping production fairly steady versus having peaks and valleys where one is going down, the other is coming up.”
Though festivals remain Wish Farms’ biggest variety, it accounts for less than half of plantings, with radiances second. Treasures and camino reals, as well as two California varieties, palomars and albinos, constitute the balance.
The variety mix for BBI Produce Inc., Dover, remains consistent. The grower-shipper grows festivals on 70% of its acreage with radiance accounting for the balance.
Chris Smith, sales manager, said BBI’s grower owners remain satisfied with the mix.
Smith said radiance possess some positive traits.
“The size looks good,” he said in early December.
“The shape is great. We have been picking radiances for 10 days. They’re a little earlier, which is why we plant them. The festivals are just now starting to pick in numbers.”
Salinas, Calif.-based Colorful Harvest LLC grows region-specific proprietary and university-developed varieties.
Doug Ranno, chief operating officer and managing partner, declined to state his varietal mix, but said the way the grower-shipper handles varieties yields better tasting berries.
“They’re redder more often for the consumers, which we know they like,” he said.
“We personalize our variety strategy by region.”
Oxnard, Calif.-based Red Blossom, which grows and ships from Plant City-based McDonald Farms, is growing more radiances, said Craig Casca, Red Blossom’s vice president.
“The variety looks great,” he said. “It’s the newer variety. Strawberries have a certain life cycle. We like the way it looks, tastes and its appearance. It blends in well with the albinos we have in California.”