PLANT CITY, Fla. — As their plants blossom and mature for harvesting, Florida strawberry grower-shippers are preparing for a typical winter season and one that could bring earlier promotable volume.

In late October, growers reported favorable growing conditions after early fall heavy rains.

The rains delayed some of the bedding of early plants but October weather was cooperative and in late October, the region wasn’t receiving the damaging early heat it experienced last fall, said James Peterson, vice president of sales for Wish Farms.

Dover-based BBI Produce Inc., plans to begin harvesting small volumes in late November with promotable volume expected to commence around Christmas, said Chris Smith, sales manager.

“We’re off to a good start,” Smith said in late October.

“We have had good weather and the plants look outstanding. Every day that goes along, we see more and more blooms. They do look wonderful. Things look optimistic and it’s setting up to be a strong season.”

Smith said retail customers are expressing much interest in early-season inquiries.

Because of the heat western production experienced this fall, retailers appear ready to make a move to the newer producing region, he said.

Florida typically harvests in big volume through March with the deal finishing by mid-April.