Florida strawberry shipments are expected to be greater than a year ago as increased acreage now is approaching 12,000 acres. Loadings are increasing with the biggest months for shipments coming with the New Year.
The Florida Strawberry Growers Association of Plant City, FL reports in the calendar year 2021, Florida shipped 17% of its annual volume in December, 13% in January, 35% in February, 32% in March and 2% in April.
Florida’s strawberry production in 2022-23 has increased to close to 12,000 acres. In 2021, Florida’s office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated harvested acres at 10,400, with a reported crop value of nearly $400 million.
Wish Farms of Plant City, FL last season had around 2,100 acres of red strawberries, both conventional and organic, as well as Pink-A-Boo Pineberries. The company sees a 10% increase, with that number going to around 2,300 acres.
Wish Farms report a good, consistent crop with shipments ramping up in January through February and into March.
While Florida strawberries are very popular within the state, distribution also is heavy throughout the U.S. southeast. The grower/shipper also ships significant volume to the mid-Atlantic, Midwest and as far north as Ontario, Canada.
GEM-Pack reports its has doubled its production of pineberries for the new season. The company started shipping in December and continues until April.
Pineberries are a hybrid cross and are smaller than a common strawberry, measuring between 15 to 23 mm (0.6 to 0.9 in). When ripe, it is almost completely white, but with red seeds.
The company’s berry loadings will be heaviest from now until Valentine’s Day.