Florida strawberries seeing extremely strong demand

“Demand for Florida strawberries is outrageous right now.”

So says Robert Wilhelm of Bova Fresh based in Boca Raton, FL. of demand for the berry that has kicked off 2022. “We can’t even keep up with the demand. Even though we’re getting better numbers, it’s still very short,” says Wilhelm.

He notes there are a few factors at play--strawberry supplies out of California are tighter and healthy eating that generally helps produce purchases at the start of the year are also influencing demand. Supply chain issues are also affecting consistent movement of product. “Mexico has also been having quality issues and we haven’t seen a whole lot of volume crossing out of Mexico either. I think it’s a combination of all of that,” he adds.

Waiting for color
At the same time, recently Florida’s strawberry volume is also tightening up. “We had decent supplies for December. Then this week we started picking down with the cold so we’re all a bit upside down,” he says. “The cool nights slows down the harvest a little bit. We still have warmer days but it’s a little bit overcast, partly cloudy. It’s just not getting us enough color right now.”

However overall berry yields are expected to be up this year. “We should have more berries this year than last year,” Wilhelm says. “Our Brilliance (variety) are picking pretty well and giving good, steady yields on our conventional berries. We have more acreage this year on organic and we’re yielding better on organic as well. The quality has been very nice and the sizing for us has been very good. We’ve been averaging an 18-20 two count on both our Sensation (variety) and our Brilliance.”

On pricing, Wilhelm notes that pricing is between $18-$20 currently. “That’s a pretty good market and usually where we want to be at the beginning of the year,” he says. “We were as low as $10-$12 with a little flush in December.” He adds that pricing looks to be holding through to Valentine’s Day and could possibly even go slightly higher.

For more information:
Robert Wilhelm
Bova Fresh
Ph: +1 (561) 826-7500

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