If great spring weather for growing vegetables, combined with optimism by Florida shippers mean anything, this should be one of the better years in a while for hauling produce from the Sunshine state.
Dozens of mixed vegetables are now being shipped, or will soon get underway. Similar to the strawberry crop that got an early start this season from the Plant City area (and is now finished), one would think Florida vegetable shipments would follow a similar path of earlier than usual volume.
April and May are typically the heaviest volume months, so we’ll see. The biggest movers currently are mature green, plum and grape tomatoes averaging over 350 truck loads a week. Other leading items are cabbage, sweet corn, potatoes (red, white and yellow), bell peppers and green beans. Very light volume is with numerous veggies ranging from cucumbers to lettuce, radish, and celery to eggplant.
Keep in mind, Florida isn’t Mexico or California when it comes to volume. There’s a reason so many multiple pick ups and drops are associated with hauling produce out of Florida.
Spring watermelons are heavy volume in season, but the first melons from Florida will not start until around the middle of April from the Immokalee area. In fact, most loadings of Florida produce for the next several weeks will occur in Southern and Central areas of the state.
Another significant item is Florida blueberry shipments, which have been increasing in volume in recent years. “Blues” will be starting in April.
Although Florida doesn’t compare to South Carolina, Georgia, or certainly not California, it does ship peaches as far north as Canada and across the Mississippi River. Operations such as Florida Sweet Peaches in Arcadia and Florida Classic Growers in Dundee have been expanding. Peach shipments should get underway in late March and continue through April and possibly early May.
Florida vegetable shipments – grossing about $2400 to Philadelphia.