Early season festival strawberries grow in late November. Florida strawberry grower-shippers the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 19 are bracing for another night of possible freezing temperatures. Plant City is forecast to drop into the mid-30s. Temperatures during the overnight hours of Tuesday, Nov. 18 fell to 35 degrees.
(Nov. 19, 4:40 p.m.) Florida strawberry growers and shippers Nov. 19 were bracing for a second night of near-freezing temperatures.
Temperatures struck as low as 35 degrees in the Plant City, Fla., area in the overnight (Nov. 18) and early morning hours Nov. 19.
Forecasters said Eastern Hillsborough County, which grows the majority of Florida’s strawberries, should see temperatures below freezing the night of Nov. 19, but they didn’t fall low enough the previous night to cause any major damage to the plants, growers said.
Sam Astin III, president and owner of Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC, Plant City, said 10 mph winds helped keep the temperatures from dropping lower.
He says he’s not expecting much wind late Nov 19/early Nov. 20, and thinks the growing region could sustain some frost, but not a hard freeze.
The National Weather Service forecast Plant City’s low for the evening of Nov. 19 and early morning Nov. 20 to hit 35 degrees. Frost is forecast to hit around 4 a.m. Nov. 20.
Astin says different spots in fields south of the city can vary by up to five degrees in temperatures. The fields often sustain colder temperatures than forecast, growers say.
Florida strawberry growers were harvesting select berries from their young plants in mid-November. Harvesting normally picks up in late November and early December, with promotable volume hitting in late December.