Central Florida mature green tomato plantings in September.

Oct 20, 2022
Florida tomatoes to harvest despite Hurricane Ian damage

Even though Hurricane Ian caused some damage, the Sunshine State’s growers want buyers to know they will be harvesting and shipping tomatoes during the winter.

“Florida’s November tomato crop will be smaller than normal due to the impact of Hurricane Ian, but Florida will remain a significant supplier from now through December,” Michael Schadler, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, said in an Oct. 19 news release. “The weather since the hurricane has been ideal, allowing growers to quickly recuperate fields. This means that even those farms that sustained damage will be able to harvest a portion of their crop.”

The storm winds and rains didn’t harm north Florida tomato production, which is centered in the Quincy, Florida, area. That region is expected to produce steady volume now through mid-November, according to the release.

“As the harvest moves south to central Florida, supplies will be lighter than normal due to the impact of the storm around the Palmetto and Ruskin growing areas,” Schadler said in the release. “November volume will be down, but there will still be tomatoes available.”

Central Florida harvesting, the larger late fall Florida production centered in the eastern Tampa Bay region, is expected to ramp up through December. The storm’s impact was less severe in the southwest Florida growing regions around Naples and Immokalee. That should help offset reduced volume in central Florida. Production in southwest Florida will steadily increase beginning in December, according to the release.

Plantings for South Florida’s winter tomato crop have continued as normal with no impact from the hurricane, Schadler, who’s also executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Committee and Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, said in the release.

PHOTO: Central Florida mature green tomato plantings east of Ruskin, Florida, in September.

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