Posts Tagged “Florida strawberry shipments”

Fungus to Reduce Florida Strawberry Shipments

By |

A fungus known as pestalotiopsis, causes berries, leaves and roots to rot and turn brown and is bound to reduce total Florida strawberry shipments this season. By how much is not yet known.

A warm, wet winter allowed the fungus to take hold in December. It is spread by water and Florida had a lot of rain December. Warm weather also helps the fungus spread.

Florida ranks second to California in domestic strawberry shipments and plays an important role in strawberry volume during the winter months. Most of Florida’s 10,000 acres of strawberry farms are in Hillsborough County to the east of Tampa and Manatee County to the south.

Hillsborough County’s Plant City is the center of the industry. The town’s annual strawberry festival held in late February drew more than 550,000 people last year.

The current outbreak of the fungus affected about 25 percent of the state’s strawberry fields and about half of the strawberries are grown organically,

One of the growers affected was Wish Farms of Plant City, FL who reported a loss of about 80 acres of organic strawberries. While it was described as a setback the company emphasized it was not a knockout punch and conditions were improving.

Florida strawberries – grossing about $2000 to Chicago.

Read more »

Florida Strawberry Shipments are Entering Big Volume Period

By |

Decent strawberry shipments are finally taking place from the Plant City area of Florida after a slow start during the past month or so. However, it will be February 1st before volume hits a peak.

Although there is no official government acreage estimate for the 2018-19 season, some observers believe total acreage is around 10,000 to 11,000 acres. However, for the 2017-18 the USDA reported planted acres totaled 10,800, while harvested acreage was 10,700 acres.

The USDA said Florida strawberry growers had an average yield of 225 hundredweight per acre. Total production totaled 2.41 million cwt.

Hot weather last fall resulted in smaller strawberries and less volume although that situation started improving in mid December.

USDA shipment statistics show so far this season, conventional Florida strawberry shipments totaled 8.73 million pounds through December 8th, down 43 percent compared with the same time a year ago, when 15.1 million pounds had been shipped.

Total loadings of Florida conventional strawberries during the 2017-18 totaled 240.8 million pounds, according to the USDA.

Strawberry shipments were in a lull in mid-December and decent volume did not occur until after the New Year.

Wish Farms of Plant City, FL reports acreage in Florida could be off a little, perhaps 5 percent — compared with a year ago. Hillsborough County, FL has about 10,000 acres and Manatee County at about 1,000 acres.

While Florida strawberry volume is building, it is not expected to hit real good levels volume until the week of January 20th, which puts shippers in a good position for the important Valentine Day’s (February 14th) demand.

Read more »

Florida Strawberry Shipments are Increasing; California Grapes May Last into January

By |

A18Initial Florida strawberry shipments got underway with the arrival of December and a good, quality crop is being reported.

Well-Pict Inc. of Watsonville, CA, also grows strawberries in Wimauma, south of Tampa, and will continue to ship strawberries from there until mid- to late March.

The Florida Strawberry Growers Association Inc. in Dover, FL predicts the state will have about 10,000 acres of strawberries this season.

Astin Strawberry Exchange of Plant City, FL has increased its organic berries this season, and similar to conventional berries, should have good volume the first half of December, peak shipments taking place from late January until mid-March.  Heaviest volume for the company occurs during February. Astin’s organic production is up 40 percent, while conventional volume has increased by 10 percent.  The company expects to ship 6 million flats this season.

Grape Shipments

California grape shipments and how long they will last has importers in a quandry.

Vanguard International USA, Inc. of  Issaquah, WA reports if the quality of California table grapes hold up, the harvest could last until the end of the year, with shipments lasting into January.  At the same time Vanguard points out Peru’s global grape shipments were up 40 percent year-on-year to 3.4 million boxes as of October 31st.  But U.S. buyers will stick with California grapes as long as the quality is there.

Meanwhile, the California industry set a new 5-year record shipping 23 million boxes worldwide between September 8th and October 12th.

Pandol Bros. Inc. of Delano, CA believes the total California crop might even be 10 million more boxes than 2017. Pandol noted in 2017, late season grape shipments were disappointing because there were so many cold storages full of aging grapes.  There are some concerns this year over a repeat of last season.

Pandol reports most retailers are planning to transition to Peruvian grapes later this season, which would be in January, instead of the second half of December.  The company also observed retailers know the ports can be problematic around the Christmas and New Year holidays and the logistics of trucking from California are more reliable.

Chile’s table grapes have been hit by a recent hail storm, but the extent of damage is yet to be assessed.  It is expected that the bad weather has slashed the walnut crop in half, while the cherry crop could have up to $100 million in losses.


Read more »

Florida Strawberry Shipments Should be Picking Up in January

By |

TK4Florida strawberry shipments got off to a good start this season and while volume is currently down, this should change once we get into the New Year.

As of December 9th, loadings had totaled 1.258 million 12-pound cartons, up from 1.075 million cartons the same time a year ago.

While some plastic covering for the plants had to be replaced, strawberries were unaffected by Hurricane Irma last September.  The fruit also came through a cold spell in the middle of December in good shape.  However, that colder weather has resulted in fewer shipments the last half of December, but volume to return more to normal as we progress into January.

Because of  newer strawberry varieties and planting of plugs there was more volume in November than there used to be.  Fruit was being shipped in at the start of November this season instead of after Thanksgiving as in the past.  Florida strawberry shipment for the fresh market should continue through March.

Florida strawberry shipments in calendar year 2016 totaled 18.3 million 12-pound cartons, down slightly from 19.2 million cartons in 2015 but way up from 11.5 million cartons in 2010, according to the USDA.  Florida strawberry shipments typically peak in February and March, with those two months accounting for 32 and 37 percent of annual shipments, respectively.

In 2016, December accounted for 21 percent of total shipments and January had a 9 percent share of total annual shipments.

Additionally, in 2016, Florida strawberry acreage totaled 10,800 planted acres and 10,700 harvested acres of strawberries.

Each year Easter provides a big demand for strawberries.  In 2018, Easter will fall on April 1st, instead of April 16th as it did in 2017.  Florida should still have good supplies of strawberries to ship ahead of the Easter observance.

Wish Farms of Plant City, FL accounts for about 17 to 18 percent of the total strawberry acreage.




Read more »

California Strawberry Volume Increases over Last Year

By |

DSCN8846There has been a small turn around in California strawberry fields following a three-year trend of declining acreage, while shipments are up significantly.

At least for this year, the trend for decreased acreage has been halted, with an estimate of a bit more than 36,000, on par with 2016 numbers, according to the California Strawberry Commission Acreage Survey for 2017.

In 2016, total strawberry shipments from California topped 196 million trays, representing about 3.4 percent gain over the previous year even with 5 percent fewer acres.

2017 has not gotten off to a very good start due to several rain storms having drenched California during the first six weeks of the season.  However, it is still running ahead of 2016 though behind 2015.  By mid-January, total California shipments were in the 750,000 tray range compared to half that in 2016, but 1.2 million in 2015.

However, shipments from both Mexico and Florida were well ahead of the past two years.  In mid-January, Florida strawberry shipments loaded almost 3 million trays for shippin while Mexico topped 3.5 million.  In 2016, by mid-January those two competing points of origin had only delivered a total of 2.5 million trays last year and about 3.8 million the previous year.

Central Florida strawberries – grossing about $1200 to Atlanta.

California growers continue to be the leading production region in the world and are expected to supply more than 79 percent of the volume shipped in the United States in 2017.

The acreage report is published two times a year with acreage information voluntarily provided by California strawberry growers and shippers.  The first “Acreage Survey” for the 2017 harvest year includes acres that were planted in the fall of 2016 as well as the forecast of acreage that will be planted in the summer of 2017 for fall production.  For 2017, the commission reports a total of 36,141 acres, with 30,074 planted last fall and an estimated 6,067 slated for summer planting.  As a point of comparison, last year, fall plantings totaled 29,318 acres with a then estimate of 6,721 for summer planting.

In 2013, the CSC January acreage report revealed 35,670 acres of fall plantings and 5,146 summer plantings for a total of 40,816 acres. In 2014, total acreage dropped to just under 39,000 and in 2015, the total was 38,100. Last year saw another decline of about 5 percent to 36,039. This year represents a negligible gain, but it’s a gain nonetheless.

In its report about acreage, CSC noted that while acreage has declined in recent years production has actually remained stable or increased partially due to new varieties, which has led to higher yields per acre.

Ventura County strawberries – grossing about $3600 to Dallas.



Read more »

Here’s a Preview of Some Produce Items to be Shipped for Easter

By |

AvocadosAs the Easter shipping period for a number of produce items approaches, here’s a look a few commodities coming out of California, Mexico and Florida.

Decent California strawberry volume is expected following a weeks of challenges regarding production.  A wild winter for strawberries should stabilize enough to provide steady loading opportunities for Easter, which falls on March 27th.

The should mean steady volumes  from the Oxnard and Santa Maria growing regions of California and from the Ruskin, FL area.

Because Easter is early this year, and based on the timing of this year’s crop, Florida strawberry shipments should be situated perfectly for Easter.

The past couple of Easters have fallen after peak Florida shipments.

Asparagus Shipments

Thanks to the early Easter this year, there should be enough asparagus shipments from Mexico and California.  Mexican volumes will be declining for the season, but because of the early Easter, it should serve as a good supplement to California, which is having peak shipments.

Avocado Shipments

California avocado loadings should be plentiful this spring and summer, with volume expected to be up to 40 percent greater than last year’s.  California is expected to produce 392.5 million pounds of avocados this season, up significantly from the 279 million pounds shipped last year.  That would be approaching 10,000 truck load equivalents.

The California avocado harvest started in January, hit good volume by late March, with peak shipments occurring from April to July.

Most California avocado shipments are destined for markets are in the western U.S.,, while Mexico will continue shipping heavily into the Midwest and to the East Coast.

Kiwifruit Shipments

The California kiwifruit shipping season continues and about 40 percent of the six-million seven-pound trays remain.  The fuzzy brown fruit is shipped out of California’s Central San Joaquin Valley.  Loading will continue through May and as late as June.


Read more »

Strawberry Shipments Experience Significant Drop in Volume

By |


California strawberry shipments are down this season about 40 percent compared to this time a year ago.

But the West Coast isn’t alone with lower volume on strawberries.  Some are calling Florida’s strawberry season a crop failure.  Florida strawberry shipments are down 50 percent, while Mexico is off by one-third.

Strawberries shipments are typically big for Valentine’s Day  (which was February 14).  This next big push is for Easter, which arrives early this year, March 27th.   Although California strawberry shipments should increase for Easter, loadings are still expected to be well below normal.

Mexican strawberry shipments are also increasing.  During the week of January 18-22 Mexico was averaging 160,000 to 180,000 trays.  The following week there was at least 20 percent.

Above average rainfall in California from El Nino is expected to last into April, which could continue to make increases in strawberry volume a challenge.

A trend that is now adversely affecting early season shipments the past few years has been the shifting of strawberry field acreage away from Ventura County in Southern California, which is the earliest shipping district.   Oxnard (Ventura County) has just over 6,800 acres of strawberries.  That compares to the 10,300 acres planted just three years ago.  Most of the grower/shippers have planted more strawberries in the Santa Maria district over the last few years, which is further north along the California coast.

The reason for the acreage shift relates to the varieties of the fruit.  Oxnard needs a good short-day strawberry variety and there aren’t any good ones right now.  Growers simply are not getting the yields in Oxnard.

Read more »

Florida Strawberry Loadings Picking Up; Vegetables Remain Light

By |

DSCN6953Here’s an update on light to moderate Florida produce loading opportunities.

Florida strawberry shipments this season will come from product off of 11,000 acres in the Plant City area.  Those plantings are expected to yield about 42 million flats of eight 1-pound clamshells, up from last season’s 38 million to 40 million flats.

Although a few farmers harvest through mid-April, most grower-shippers finish packing by mid- to late March.

More normal supplies and shipments of Florida strawberries are expected anytime now.  In mid- and late December, shipments were only about two-thirds of normal due to warmer than normal weather.

Strawberry shipments are hitting about 200 truckloads per week now, but this number should increase significantly in the days ahead.

Florida Vegetable Shipments

Meanwhile, tomato shipments easily lead the pack when looking a vegetable loadings.  About 400 truckloads of tomatoes are being shipped per week from central and southern Florida locations.

There are a number other vegetables in Florida being shipped in light volume ranging from bell peppers to radishes and eggplant, among others.  However, Florida certainly isn’t a panacea for finding produce loads this time of the year.  But loadings overall in the Eastern time zone of the U.S. this time of year, prompts us to give you as much information as possible.   At best, Florida loadings most likely will involve multiple pick ups and drops.

Florida produce – grossing about $2600 to New York City.



Read more »

Weather Woes Reducing Shipments in California and Florida

By |

FloridaFloodGrowing and shipping fruits and vegetables in winter is risky business and weather conditions too often play havoc.  For example, cold weather in the California and Arizona deserts are disrupting vegetable shipments.  In Florida, southern vegetables have been pounded by heavy rains, literally wiping out crops.  Strawberry shipments further north in Florida are being hurt by heat.

Desert Vegetable Shipments

Cold weather in the early season and variable weather since then has slowed vegetable growth – and shipments of  cauliflower, broccoli, Iceberg lettuce, leaf items or Brussels sprouts.  With temperature highs varying as much as 20 degrees from day to day, problems happen.  Then there are nightly lows around freezing, that curtail early morning harvests.  The result is volume running 25 to 50 percent below normal, which will continue through the end of the year.  Farming operations are having to remove the outer leaves of lettuce with ice damage.

California, Arizona desert vegetables grossing about $3800 to Dallas.

Florida Vegetable Shipments

South Florida’s Redlands growing region was hit with torrential rains in early December, resulting in severe damage to winter yellow squash, zucchini and green beans.

The 15 inches of rain that pounded Florida City and Homestead, Fla.,  also hurt tomatoes and sweet corn, but the squash and beans sustained the most severe damage with losses in the 60 to 70 percent range.  The excessive water  killed many plants and caused serious quality issues that prevented vegetables from being shipped for the Christmas holidays.

The region grows product primarily mid-November through mid-April, similar to Belle Glade, Fla., and Immokalee.

Belle Glade ships corn and beans while Immokalee ships beans, tomatoes and squash.

Florida Strawberry Shipments

Higher than normal temperatures in the Plant City, FL area has resulted in strawberry shipments facing shipping gaps.  Volume is less than normal due to the heat.  Although volume is starting to increase, it will probably be the second full week of January before loadings are up to where they should be.

Florida vegetables and strawberries – grossing about $2000 to Chicago.


Read more »

Strawberry Shipments to Increase, But It’s Taking Time

By |

004If you’ve noticed sky high strawberry prices in your local supermarket, there’s a reason.  Shipments from California, Mexico and Florida are all low, but things are starting change.

November rains excellerated already seasonally lower volumes for California strawberry shipments, and volumes also have been below the three-year average.  Volume will improve, but it’s going to take some time.  El Niño predictions are still showing the strong probability of continuous rains and occasional heavy down pours in the west.

Some California shippers will rely on Florida and Mexico production to supplement California loadings, though bad weather in central Mexico in mid-November was complicating that crop.

This time of year California volume is unpredictable due to cold weather and number of daylight hours. With short days, cold nights and the threat of rain, volume is difficult to predict.

Florida strawberry shipments are increasing and should hit decent volume by next week from the Plant City, Fla. area.  However, it will be the first of the year before peak volumes occur.

By the week of November 23rd, shipments from Watsonville, CA had mostly wound down for the year, as production shifted to Southern California.  Ventura County is ramping up and Orange County will get underway soon.

Southern California citrus shipments – grossing about $4200 to Chicago.

Central and Southern Florida tomatoes, vegetables – grossing about $2300 to New York City.

Read more »