Great quality projected for Florida strawberry season

From Fresh Fruit Portal | 23 January 2024

Overview of strawberries from Florida in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on January 19, 2024.

Florida strawberry harvesting is underway, with growers anticipating a positive season in terms of overall fruit quality. 

This comes as less-than-ideal cold weather stalled bloom cycle in some Tampa Bay crops, News Channel 8 reports. However, Florida Strawberry Growers Association remains highly optimistic.

“It has been an incredible Florida strawberry season in terms of flavor and quality,” says Kenneth Parker, executive director for the association.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) works closely with state strawberry growers to develop and breed disease-resistant varieties that also produce good yields.

Strawberry breeders at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC) have developed varieties such as Florida Pearl, which has an unusual white exterior and a unique pineapple-like flavor, consumers say.

strawberry volumes by hi

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Other cultivars developed by the university include Florida MedallionFlorida Brilliance, and Sweet Sensation. They all have the characteristic red color and a sweet taste.

“Growers look for things that consumers care about like flavor, color, shape, and shelf life, as well as traits important to growing the varieties, like yield, disease resistance, and how easy they are to harvest,” indicates UF/IFAS breeder Vance Whitaker.

Farmers grow more ‘Florida Brilliance’ than any other UF/IFAS cultivar, adds Whitaker, who is also a professor of horticultural sciences at the GCREC.

Although the fruits are not marketed by cultivar names, they can be found labeled as Florida-grown.

Strawberry consumption translates to about $500 million annually in farm-gate value. Hillsborough County leads production, growing about 90% of the estimated 13,500 acres each year. 

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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