Florida blueberry growers expect good season

This year, Florida is expected to benefit from Georgia’s misfortune. Growers there lost up to 80 percent of their berries in freezing temperatures last month.

Florida’s 2017 crop already was expected to exceed last year’s. An unusually warm November and December 2015 prevented the bushes from getting the cold days they need to produce abundant fruit in 2016, and a cool early spring further delayed the season, said Jeff Williamson, a blueberry extension specialist at the University of Florida, which has developed most of the varieties grown in the state.

“Things are moving along at a much better pace than they were last year,” said Williamson, a professor of horticulture.

The wholesale price this year is expected to be $3 to $4 a pound, said Teddy Koukoulis, director of blueberry operations for Wish Farms in Plant City, one of the larger berry marketers in the state.

The value of Florida’s blueberry industry is estimated at $82 million, making it the U.S. leader in fresh berries, U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show.
source: orlandosentinel.com

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