Strawberry crop in fine shape

//Strawberry crop in fine shape

Florida strawberry growers hold their breath as the new year unfurls with crop and market in fine shape

Ripe Red Florida Strawberries in Field

As the new year rolled into its first week, Florida strawberries were in great shape with abundant volume, excellent quality and — unlike last year — a solid market.

“I hold my breath when I say everything’s fine, but there are not too many problems just yet,” Ted Campbell, executive director of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association in Plant City, FL, told The Produce News Jan. 3. “I think the market will be okay. They’re harvesting full bore right now, which means the prices will come down with the volume of the harvest, but I think we’ll be okay.”

Early in the season, strawberry prices were at near-record highs as demand was strong and little volume was available.

Last year, Florida growers got clobbered by a trifecta of calamity: California, which is usually out of the deal by the time Florida comes on in early December, had an extended season; Mexico had tremendous volume; and a very warm winter — even by Florida standards — led to volume that simply crashed the market as growers tried to unload berries anywhere they could at any price.

Things are different this year.

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