UF Blueberry Specialist: Growers Cautiously Optimistic This Harvest Season

Web AdminFlorida

By Clint Thompson

Blueberry harvests are well under way across Florida. After a year that’s seen producers challenged with multiple weather events, like Hurricane Ian last September, Hurricane Nicole last November and multiple days of cold temperatures during Christmas week, growers are optimistic about this year’s crop.


Phil Harmon, professor and Extension plant pathologist at the University of Florida (UF) and research member of the board of directors for the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, discussed the mindset growers had entering this year’s harvest season.

“I think there’s a general sense of cautious optimism among the growers. We took a real beating from hurricane season last year, and some of that is still hanging on,” Harmon said. “There are growers in south production areas that are still seeing those effects and are going to be hit by those.

“On the whole, though, I’d say the fruit set has been really good. The pollination’s been good. So far, the disease has been low. I think everybody’s cautiously optimistic and hoping for a good season this year.”

Florida blueberries are projected to have a longer harvest season this year and last well into May. The Christmas freeze event and subsequent sub-freezing temperatures in early January contributed to the state having an extended harvest window.

Whether that elongated harvest windows hurts or helps producers remains to be seen.