PLANT CITY, Fla. — Heavy rains that struck during fall plantings should produce lighter-than-normal early volume of Florida tomatoes, sweet corn and green beans.
For other vegetables, including bell peppers, cucumbers and squash, the Sunshine State’s grower-shippers say they expect a normal fall production.
By late October, central Florida tomato growers began harvesting grape, cherry, roma and mature-green tomatoes, but volume was smaller than usual.
Because torrential August and September rains cut yields, tomato pricing should remain relatively strong until the region enters larger volume later in November, said Tony DiMare, vice president of the Homestead-based DiMare Co.
“Once we get into the midst of our season and volume begins to pick up in mid-November, we look for steady supplies and excellent quality because this is during the time of the year when temperatures and humidity levels moderate,” he said in late October.
“That combination typically yields excellent quality. Buyers should see bigger movement and improvement in quality from mid-November forward.”
Corn and beans should be lighter than normal through Thanksgiving.
“Supplies will be scarce in November due to all the rain we had in September,” Jon Browder, sales manager for Belle Glade-based Pioneer Growers Co-op, said in late October.
“The product they had in the ground got washed out. There will be gaps and there definitely won’t be any supplies for Thanksgiving promotions of corn and beans.”
Otherwise, volume grower-shippers forecast normal volumes of other vegetables.
Despite the rain, central Florida experienced a favorable growing season, said Jim Monteith, sales manager for Myakka City-based Utopia Packing LLC.
“Our growing season has been good, for the most part,” he said in late October.
“Though we had a dry summer, we have had a lot of rainfall. I am not sure of the effects of all that rain but it could affect yields. Once you get through the weather events, the plants are resilient and can bounce back and we will have some good quality.”