Florida Farmer Resorts to Processing Due to Recent Rains

Clint ThompsonFlorida, Strawberry

By Clint Thompson

Florida strawberry growers are still feeling the impact of inclement weather last weekend.

Photo by Dustin Grooms/Shows a Florida strawberry impacted by recent rainfall.

Dustin Grooms with Fancy Farms in Plant City, Florida, confirmed on Wednesday that he is processing strawberries this week that were damaged by rainfall. The damage was restricted to one variety, but that still involves a lot of acreage.

“Going back and checking the field, the majority of it was bad. So we made a decision (Tuesday). Luckily, Wish Farms has a processing facility, and we’re able to do some processing to get all of those berries that were damaged and put them in the tubs and the juices real good on them. They’re still sweet,” Grooms said. “It’s industry wide with this variety it seems like. I’ve chatted with a few people, and they’re throwing down the majority of theirs. It’s unfortunate. That long duration of the rain, staying wet and the wind, it didn’t take it very good this time.”

Having to resort to the processing side is not as profitable as the fresh market for growers like Grooms. But it is the best option for the farm’s long-term success this season.

“A processed deal is more to keep up with the field than to make money. You’re definitely not paying the bills out of it,” Grooms said. “It’s more of a cleanup and to stay up with the fresh. You essentially have to come out here and basically strip all of the fruit off and get nothing for it. It’s costing a lot of money to do this as far as harvesting (Wednesday). We’re able to stay up with the field and not discard all of the fruit.”