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Warm weather heralds increase in Florida squash production

Squash production in Florida is seeing an increase in production across the state, as warmer weather finally establishes itself in the region. In South Florida, production has been going for a while, but now other parts of the region are joining in, as the cooler winter season releases its grip. 

"The spring crop is just getting going now," said Tom Nicholson of Ben Bud Growers. "As the seasons change, things start to move. South Florida still has a few weeks to go, while Plant City is beginning to see heavy production. That will continue through to the middle to end of May. Growers on the west coast tend to alternate their fields with strawberries and they do a pretty good job at it."

Just north of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are also set to start production shortly. "We will shortly see southwest Georgia start and it will be interesting to see how they go after the cold winter they have had. North Carolina will be starting to plant next week as well. The cold weather has really hung on north of Florida and time will tell what effect this will have on squash production in those areas."

Prices are cheap, but rebounding
As volume picks up and more squash enters the market, prices have remained flat. A shortage of supply looms, however, thanks to the particular behavior of bees at this time of year, as well as persistent wind that has been present in Florida recently.

"The market has been relatively cheap but has been rebounding lately," Nicholson said. "Each year at this time, we see a lot of the tropical fruit trees come into bloom in Florida. Consequently, the bees gravitate towards the sweeter flowers of these trees, leaving the squash alone, slowing pollination. Additionally, because the flowers on the tropical fruit trees are situated higher off the ground, it makes it easier for the bees to find compared with the ground-dwelling squash flowers. As a result, we tend see a slight dip in production for a week or so in April."

"We have also been getting a lot of wind lately, which sometimes causes minor damage to the plants," Nicholson continued "Squash is quite resilient, however, and it always comes back. Overall, we are seeing an increase in demand now of zucchini and yellow squash as summer approaches."

For more information:
Tom Nicholson
Ben Bud Growers
Tel: +1 (561) 347-3100

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