Blueberries have been here in Florida for a long time, but only recently have we seen a tremendous increase in the number of acres of commercially grown berries in our state. We should surpass 8,000 acres this year, making Florida a serious player in the worldwide blueberry industry.
While some growers used to be able to produce a cash crop of berries on only a few acres, most commercial operations now range from 30-300 acres in size. But, unlike our northern neighbor growers, most of Florida’s blueberry crop is still harvested by hand, not machine. Continue reading
Florida’s spring crop of blueberries is here! While some growers with early varieties or those located in the southern areas have already started harvesting small amounts of our tasty blueberries the real volume will come later this month and on into April and May when central and north Florida picking begins.
Unlike the rabbit eye varieties grown in the north, which are usually tiny and have a moderate taste, our Florida Southern High Bush berries are large and have a wonderful sweet flavor. It is not unusual to find Florida blueberries as big as your thumb! Continue reading
It is no secret that we are up against another challenging season. The lack of chill throughout our state has caused our crop to be slow and most of it will be ripening later than our traditional harvest time.
All reports indicate that our neighbors to the north are running on time and may even be a little early this year.
A lot of fruit is going to hit the market at an unusual time this year. What can we, as growers, do to mitigate this problem?
I am writing this letter in mid-December and right now the only thing I hear our blueberry growers talking about is “chill.” In the midst of this hot topic, the two words I hear most often in this discussion are “little” and “none.”
It has been a historically warm winter so far, and this poses significant challenges to us as blueberry growers. So far this year, chill has been hard to come by throughout the state. Chill is usually defined as the time our bushes spend below 45 degrees but above 32 degrees. More chill usually means more fruit. This lack of chill also makes Hydrogen Cyanamid application a bit more of a guessing game. Continue reading
Last season, Florida blueberry growers harvested about 25 million pounds of berries throughout the state. This was up from just less than 17 million the year before and closer to our harvest of 22 million pounds two seasons ago. If we believe the common wisdom that there are about 7,000 acres of blueberries in the state, this year’s harvest works out to an average of about 3,500 pounds per acre.
More beneficial chill hours, good growing conditions, favorable harvest weather, adequate labor supply at the beginning of the season, and additional mature plantings contributed to a record blueberry harvest for the state. Continue reading
On behalf of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, I’d like to say a sincere thank you for your continued support of our organization and Florida agriculture.
Our spring meeting will be held Thursday, October 8th, 2015 at the Hillsborough Community College Trinkle Center located at 1206 North Park Road in Plant City. Continue reading
We are in our winter growing season now and most of us are seeing the beginning of bloom show up on our bushes. Most growers I have talked to have reported significantly more chill this year than the past two seasons. This sounds good for bloom set and fruit production this season. We’ll see…
Supplemental pollinators should be in your fields now: Honey bees or bumbles, or both. Most of us are lucky enough to have an abundant supply of native pollinators, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a hand with the huge volume of bloom in our fields at this time of year.