Florida always has light produce volume in the fall and the winter, but the Sunshine state’s produce loads has been even lighter this year. After a tumultuous fall which brought lighter shipments with central Florida’s tomatoes, volume is finally, a long last, picking up. Still, don’t expect spring like volumes.
Yet, the higher volume has actually led to some rate increases.
Florida tomato shipments out of Immokalee have been just okay in terms of quality, but apparently have looked pretty good compared to the early stuff out of the Palmetto-Ruskin area.
Heavy August and September rains stunted yields and certainly did not help the quality in the early fall. As late fall growing conditions become more favorable with moderated temperatures and lower humidity levels, volume and loading opportunties showed some improvement.
Fall tomato shipments yields were down 30 to 70 percent from normal depending on plantings, but the Palmetto-Ruskin region has been increasing.
The quality of the central Florida mature green tomatoes is reported good and Florida is now entering the time of year — early winter is when you should be hauling the best quality tomatoes that have been available in awhile.
Central Florida usually starts in early October with grape and cherry tomatoes and begins harvesting mature-greens by early November.
Central Florida freight rates have increased 10 to 15 percent to places such as New York, Philly and Boston due to increasing volume with tomatoes, strawberries out of Plant City and exisiting light production of veggies.
Central Florida produce – grossing about $3000 to New York City.