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Florida Strawberry Report: The Varieties Making Waves
Every winter, Florida growers produce ample crops of strawberries to fulfill consumers' winter desire for a juicy red, sweet berry to beat the mid-winter blues. From chocolate-dipped Valentine's Day treats to holiday platters full of the juicy red berries, people love strawberries all year round.
And people rely on Florida suppliers to keep consumers' berry-loving palates satiated even when the snows are flying and people are craving a burst of fresh berries. While California strawberries peak March through September, Florida dominates the winter crop.
South American Mangos Cultivate New Direction
The National Mango Board (NMB) is just one of many organizations with data that shows mangos are the most consumed fruit in the world, and even though it might not crack America’s Top 10, demand for mangos is increasing around the country.
When fall hits, the U.S. receives its greatest supply of mangos from South America, and even though weather issues from early 2015 may be somewhat problematic for the industry, it’s still expected to be a banner year.
Texas Produce More Diverse Every Day
Texas farmers in the rich soils of the lower Rio Grande Valley produce far more vegetables and melons than cattle, as measured in dollars. Fruit farming in this four county area brought in $50 million in 2014, according to Texas International Produce Association statistics, and the greenhouse and floriculture industry was just shy of $100 million.
While cattle and the grains to feed them are still the hallmarks of Texas agriculture, a diversity of vegetables, melons and fruits have become important both for the national market in the winter and the growing number of local consumers looking to Go Texan.
Though viewed as a general market area, Pacific Rim Asia presents a hodgepodge of varying cultures, political systems and regulations, making it challenging to identify export requirements. “You can’t lump Asia into a large group and say the regulations and standards are higher across the board,” states Richard Owen, vice president of global business development for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) in Newark, DE. “Different countries have different levels of standards.”
These variances present inimitable trials for exporting. “Meeting different regulations for every country can be challenging,” reports Jo Ann Carbone, export manager for Seald Sweet in Vero Beach, FL. “But it is attainable, especially through experience.”
What’s wrong with this picture? Tomatoes in the refrigerator are a cardinal sin in the produce industry. In addition to industry efforts to reduce produce waste, consumers are still familiarizing themselves with ways to get the best use of their fruits and vegetables at home and prevent spoilage. PRODUCE BUSINESS recently examined the impact spoilage has on produce consumption — and opportunities that are lost to feed people who are food insecure — with a three-part editorial series. Through the lens of spoilage at home, at retail and at farm level, we explored solutions available at every juncture to prevent spoilage and convert waste.
|Please check out our sister publication Produce Business UK for a perspective on produce from across the pond!|
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