By Clint Thompson
Timing can be everything to the success of a crop. If Hurricane Ian had arrived in Florida a week later for example, the state’s strawberry crop could have sustained considerable damage.
As it stood, few, if any plants were in the ground last week when the hurricane ravaged the state. Florida producers were fortunate, says Brianne Reichenbach, director of member services at the Florida Strawberry Growers Association.
“Just depending on where you were, topography wise, overall, there was minimal damage across the board,” Reichenbach said. “Our prayers are with all of the commodities that were affected by this storm.”
The biggest concern were plants that were being stored in coolers at the time power was lost due to the storm. That has since been rectified, however.
“All coolers are back on the grid on power, and the farmers were able to move plants around to coolers as they got back on the grid,” Reichenbach said. “Really, there was no plant loss there, and we’re just real thankful for how we fared in the storm.”
Growers have since started planting this year’s crop, as fields dried out and conditions improved. Despite the short delay in beginning the planting process for this season, Reichenbach believes producers will catch up to their normal schedule.
“We try to shoot around that Oct. 1 time period, so really, we’re pretty well on track,” she added. “They’re full steam ahead with getting plants in the ground. I really think we’re going to be right on track.”