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WUSF News Staff
Tue January 15, 2013
Florida's Strawberry Fields Faring Well This Season
Strawberry growers in California have been hit with unusual, freezing temperatures while Florida’s strawberry fields have been bathing in 80 degree temperatures.
Gary Wishnatzki is the owner of Wish Farms, the largest strawberry distributor in Florida. He said California growers are not equipped to handle freezing temperatures.
“They don’t have overhead irrigation to utilize to protect the crop and there’s usually some bloom and small berry damage,” Wishnatzki said.
Yet, he said the California freeze did not appear to be devastating in part because their crop usually doesn’t hit the market until later. So, there’s been no spike in strawberry prices.
In fact, Wishnatzki said Florida’s toughest berry competition this time of year comes from Central Mexico.
So far, Florida’s strawberry season has been successful.
“We got off to a great start this year,” Wishnatzki said. “We had just about ideal weather conditions through the month of December and through the holidays.”
The 80 degree temperatures are less than ideal said Wishnatzki. Strawberries need cooler temperatures to develop their sweetness. So, he’s looking forward to the cold front expected this weekend.