By Clint Thompson
Blueberry harvests are only days away for some growers in Florida. Location will determine when producers will start harvesting fruit, believes Doug Phillips, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) blueberry Extension coordinator.
“Some places will start picking early March, depending on the location. Some of the South Florida farms that didn’t have a lot of (Hurricane Ian) damage, they’re typically earlier of course than the rest of the state,” Phillips said. “It works its way north from there. I would say some folks will start picking early March.”
Warmer temperatures the past couple of weeks have spurred maturity in the blueberries.
“With these warm temperatures we’ve got, it’s pushing things along at a pretty good pace. I would say previously, growers thought maybe they were a week and a half to two weeks behind the typical season. But I think with these warm mid-to-upper 80s temperatures that we’re getting, it’s pushed things along pretty nicely,” Phillips said. “It depends on the continuation of the warm temperatures. Of course, in South Florida (Hardee, DeSoto and Highlands counties), things may be a little later than normal just because of the some of the hurricane damage that was there. But I’m seeing a lot of green fruit on a lot of varieties now. I think it’s going to be a really good season just looking at the blooms we had and the fruit I see now.
“I’m hoping it’ll end up being timing wise a relatively typical season with the warm temperatures that we’re getting now.”
Feature keyphrase: Florida blueberries
Slugs: Florida blueberry harvests
Use photo of blueberries.