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Florida strawberry supplies to increase over the next month
Strawberry supplies out of Florida are expected to hit the market over the next month as the season there gradually gets underway. Production is expected to accelerate now that the cooler weather has arrived and will continue until Spring arrives and hot weather creates unsuitable conditions.
"Our season in Florida is just starting with minimal volume and won’t really kick into high gear for about 30 days," said Cindy Jewell, of California Giant. "The season will extend into the Spring until the hot weather becomes a barrier. Weather in our Florida growing region has consisted of moderate temperatures in the 70s with nighttime lows in the 50s. This time last year temperatures were in the 90s."
Outlook for yield and quality
Once production stabilizes and volume becomes consistent, growers are expecting good volume and quality on par with long term trends. As long as weather conditions remain stable, Florida strawberries will hit peak volume in the early months of 2018.
"We are looking for a good crop with strong yield, flavor and quality," Jewell said. "Our season should be about the same as last year with slightly more stock during the peak volume period in the first quarter of 2018. This year, with weather on the cooler side right now, our quality is looking good as far as size and firmness. Going into December this cool pattern should continue to eliminate all soft fruit."
Strong demand amidst seasonal transitions
With the growing regions shifting and generally cooler weather conditions, supplies of strawberries are currently tight. For growers, it's a careful balancing act to ensure sufficient availability for customers while making sure fruit ripeness and flavor is optimal.
"There is definitely strong demand for berries and we are doing our best to cover our accounts with fruit from all of our regions," Jewell continued. "At this time of year with cooler days, cold nights and shorter days, the volume is slowed down due to more time between each picking cycle. We want to make sure the fruit is fully ripened before harvest for best flavor and quality so this time of year is not as predictable as spring and summer."
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