For the Florida Strawberry Growers Association’s farm families, the weekend after Thanksgiving Day itself begins our rush to harvest.
We pick and ship fresh Florida strawberries from Thanksgiving through mid-March, depending on the weather and market conditions. It’s a surprise to many to learn that Florida is the dominate U.S. supplier of fresh strawberries during the winter months. They are red, ripe, juicy and absolutely delicious.
Right now—today—the growers are preparing the fields for planting. They begin in August to level the land, repair irrigation systems and farm equipment. The next step is to bed the ground which begins around Labor Day.
By the end of September over ten thousand acres of strawberry fields within a twenty-mile radius of Plant City, Florida will contain row-after-row of raised beds that have been formed with special farming equipment and are covered with black plastic mulch to keep moisture in the soil and help control weeds.
This special farming equipment is a great help when it comes to sorting out all the raised beds. I’m sure most farmers will agree that it would be nearly impossible without it. If you don’t have any special farming equipment, then it’s probably time that you invest in some. If you are worried that you won’t be able to find the equipment that you want, then you need to stop worrying. This is because you can luckily find equipment here.
The plants themselves are planted by hand and holes are punched into the plastic mulch. It’s an interesting site to see.
Planting begins the latter part of September and goes into October. Before you know it, Thanksgiving is here, and we’re harvesting our first fresh Florida strawberry crop. From Thanksgiving, through early spring, we’re in the fields picking the best of the bunch.
The Florida Strawberry Growers Association van has a new wrap featuring our animated cartoon characters—Jammer, Polly, and Caylix. It will be turning heads throughout the growing area all season long.