Early start for Florida dill pickle cucumbers

The dill pickle cucumber crop out of Florida is getting underway early this year. “Normally, we’d be starting April 10 to 15, but the heat’s got everything growing so fast that they’re ready. So we’ll have to start harvesting them this week,” says Hank Scott of Long & Scott Farms in Mount Dora, Florida. He notes that his H-2A crew hasn’t even arrived yet, so it means a temporary crew will help get things started this week.

As for the pickle cucumbers themselves, there are concerns over the lack of rain in the state. “We’ve had no rain to speak of in three to four months. There are a lot of dry areas where the pickles just didn’t come up because we couldn’t get enough irrigation water on to get them germinated. They did set very well, so there are a lot of pickles on the vine, which should be able to make up for that,” said Scott. Harvest should continue until the first week of June.

Transitioning from Mexico
Currently, Mexico is also shipping pickle cucumbers, though Scott says he’s already hearing from customers asking about product availability. “They’re ready to go with Florida for fresher product. When they’re from Mexico, they take a week to get into the U.S. Right now; it looks like demand will be favorable this season,” he says.

As for pricing, it looks to be average. “Right now, it’s in the mid-upper $20s in the fresh market,” Scott says. “Prices have gone up the last two seasons out of necessity because H-2A labor, fertilizer, packaging, everything is continuing to go up. We don’t have that ability to just up pricing as they do and cover our costs and have a profit like everybody else does.”  

For more information:
Hank Scott
Long & Scott Farms

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