South Florida Harvest Starts Well

Published online: Mar 29, 2018 Articles, Potato Harvesting
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Source: PotatoPro

The South Florida potato harvest season has started well, with a good, healthy crop taking shape. It has been under way for just over a month. Despite cooler weather at the start of the year, South Florida crops escaped any major frost damage, with growers pleased with quality and volume. 

“It's been a nice harvest season so far,” says Alan Jones of Jones Potato Farm in Parrish, Fla. “The season started on Feb. 1, and we expect to have product through the first week of May before the season transitions to North Florida. The weather during the growing season in this part of the state was fine. We did not see any frost damage like some crops in the northern part of the state experienced. Therefore, we're seeing great quality and adequate volume coming through.”

Growers are expecting to have all varieties available throughout the season, with yellows seeing good demand. There are still a lot of potatoes in storage in other regions, though, so the market is currently a bit flat. There are, however, plenty of signs that the season will be a positive one for Florida growers. 

“We grow reds, yellows, fingerlings and purple potatoes,” says Jones. “Reds and yellows will be available for the whole season, while fingerlings and purples will be a little more limited. However, we expect those to also be available for the majority of the season. Demand has been constant, but the market has been a little flat due to the amount of potatoes still in storage. Yellows are seeing heightened demand as Easter approaches.

“Another bit of good news is that truck availability has improved in South Florida, so it is now easier to get product to market compared to what it has been in recent times. Overall, this season is shaping up to be a very positive one.”

Jones Potato Farm also has other crops that are ready to begin their season shortly. In addition, the company is proud to be participating in community events and have been recognized for ensuring the surrounding environment is looked after as well.

“Our green bean season will be kicking off next week, and we look forward to another season of offering those,” says Jones. “We find it very important to be a part of our community, and we enjoy getting out and educating young professionals as well as promoting local agriculture. Part of our farmland incorporates pristine ecosystems ,such as wetlands, which are a habitat for local wildlife and birds. So we incorporate innovative practices in order to save water and fertilizer. For example, our pivot irrigation system controls the rate of water we put on each field, as soil porosity varies in each location.

“We were proud to win the state agriculture environmental leadership award a couple of years ago, recognizing our efforts to protect the ecosystem in and around our farm.”