HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Another year of warm winter weather is helping south Florida grower-shippers of avocados and tropicals.
They say the favorable growing season should bring a strong spring.
“This is the second warm winter in a row,” Peter Leifermann, director of sales and fruit procurement for Brooks Tropicals LLC, said in mid-February.
“We have had great growing conditions. The trees are as healthy as they’ve been in years. With a lack of summer storms and winter freezes, we are looking at a great production year.”
In late February, most grower-shippers were finishing shipments of avocados.
“We have had very clean and nice fruit this season,” Eddie Caram, general manager of New Limeco LLC, Princeton, said in mid-February. “We have had quite a lot of fruit.”
Caram said he expects the new season to bring quality fruit. He said south Florida’s warm winter weather are helping some of the earlier fruit begin to bloom.
Brooks planned to finish harvesting in mid-March.
“With the warm winter weather we’re having, we are very optimistic about next season’s Florida avocados,” Bill Brindle, Brooks’ vice president of sales, said in mid-February.
“The trees are showing some robust growth that should produce a great crop.”
Through early February, the industry eclipsed its goal of 1 million bushels by 14%, Leifermann said.
Leifermann said the season went well and said record rainfall helped produce healthy trees.
Throughout the year, south Florida grows a variety of tropical items, including mamey sapote, Thai guava, star fruit, passion fruit, boniato, water coconut and lychee.
“Because the winter has been warm and the nights have been fairly nice, we should have very nice settings and very nice fruit for the spring and summer for all the tropical fruits,” Caram said in mid-February.
On mamey, Leifermann said Brooks began harvesting the magana variety in February, a month earlier than its normal.
The pantin variety, also known as key west, begins in June and runs through December.
On guava, Leifermann said buyers should expect production to begin in mid-March, with promotable volume hitting in April. May through September should bring the biggest volume, he said.
“We expect a healthier crop this year than we’ve seen in many years,” Leifermann said.
Star fruit typically starts in late June and runs through February.
This season, however, Leifermann said buyers should expect volume to begin in early June.
Caram said the warm growing season should make for nice settings that produce high quality fruit and volume.
Passion fruit should begin volume in May and peak in June, Leifermann said.
The dry winter should yield clean, quality fruit free of fungi and defects, Leifermann said.