Florida fresh produce shipments will include over 300 different items and total in excess of 100,000 truckloads by June when summer heat tends to end any significant volume. Heaviest volume will come during April and May.
Last August there were 336 40,000-pound truckloads shipped, which was the highest in the past four years.
Between November and early June Florida typically ships the bulk of U.S. domestic fresh commodities. Most other U.S. states are dormant or have either just ended production or just started.
The USDA reports the top five produce items shipped from Florida in 2018 include tomatoes at 791.9 million pounds, sweet corn at 497 million pounds, strawberries at 229.6 million pounds, bell peppers at 206.5 million pounds and cabbage at 193.4 million pounds.
More than 791.9 million pounds of tomatoes were shipped out of Florida in 2018, increasing from 780.2 million in 2017.
Sweet corn shipments also grew from 479.3 million pounds in 2017 to 497 million pounds.
Orange shipments experienced growth, reaching 186.1 million pounds in 2018, an increase from 153.1 million pounds in 2017. Growth in orange shipments, however, did not exceed shipment numbers from 2015 or 2016.
Here are 2018 fresh produce shipments, with percent comparisons to 2017:
- Avocados: 25.2 million pounds, -29%;
- Beans: 126.7 million pounds, -17%;
- Blueberries: 19.7 million pounds, 3.1%;
- Cabbage: 193.4 million pounds, -14%;
- Celery: 62.9 million pounds, -16%;
- Sweet corn: 497 million pounds, 3.6%;
- Cucumbers: 99.9 million pounds, -15%;
- Grapefruit: 65.3 million pounds, -23%;
- Oranges: 186.1 million pounds: 22%;
- Bell peppers: 206.5 million, -6%;
- Strawberries: 229.6 million pounds, -9%; and
- Tomatoes: 791.9 million pounds, 1%.
While Florida fresh organic shipments are increasing, it still is miniscule. Organic accounts for less than 1 percent of total Florida fresh produce volume. By 2022 some observers believe it may account for 1,000 truck loads a year.