Central and southern parts of Florida experienced moderately heavy rainfall over the past weekend, with two inches or more of rain recorded in some parts of the state. For the most part, growers welcomed the rainfall, as there was little damage reported, except for some minor production delays due to the prolonged nature of the cool, wet weather.
Strawberry growers were prepared
It's the middle of the strawberry season in Florida and growers were well prepared for the forecast rain. Berries were picked ahead of time to make sure the quality of ripe berries didn't suffer. "We have had several weather fronts in the past few weeks," said Matt Sumner of Always Fresh Farms. "It rained on Thursday, and Sunday was a washout, however the rain did not cause any damage. Everyone went ahead and picked what they could on Saturday because berries become more sensitive when fully ripened."
Sumner added that although the cooler and wetter weather slows down production, strawberry growers prefer this to hot weather. "The quality of the berries will be maintained in this weather, and it's certainly preferable to hot weather," he said. "The cooler weather is going to persist this week with highs in the 50s and lows in the low 40s which will result in the slowing of the production cycle. This doesn't present any problems but it's one more thing that keeps us from having a lot of berries."
Warmer weather next week is expected to increase production, just in time for the Valentine's Day push. "From next week, highs will increase into the mid 70s and as a result, we are hoping that production will pick up ahead of the busiest time of the year for strawberry growers - Valentine's Day," Sumner noted. "The market is high right now and we just wished we had more volume, although we do expect to have good promotable volumes in time for Valentine's Day, leading into the peak of the Florida season shortly after."
Image: C&B Farms
Vegetable growers welcomed the rain
There are a number of vegetable crops in season in Florida, including leafy greens, cabbage, and squash. Growers of these commodities were undeterred and welcomed the weekend rainfall with production reportedly unaffected.
"The rain had very little effect on production and we were out there working," said Thomas Armata of C&B Farms, which grows an array of vegetables in South Florida. "At this time of year, we grow many different items, including herbs, leafy greens and Chinese vegetables. Our soil is sandy and as a result drains very well."
Other growers in the region also declared that the rain did little damage, but was very welcome. "There wasn't too much rain for it to cause any damage to our cabbage crop," said Bill Bone of Queen Bee Farms in Okeechobee. "We had two and a half inches and it was very much welcomed."
Image: C&B Farms
A representative at Sunny Sweet Farms - a squash grower in Bowling Green - also mentioned that the rain was beneficial, and that there was no damage to crops.
The relatively cool and wet weather is set to stick around during the early part of the week before gradually warming up by the weekend.
Queen Bee Farms
Ph: +1 (863) 253-0217
Sunny Sweet Farms
Ph: +1 (863) 781-0657