|This report reflects conditions as of January 1 and represents acreage for harvest during the winter months of January, February, March. Therefore, the estimated acreage for harvest includes the acreage, if any, that may be abandoned due to recent freezes in some areas of the State.|
WEATHER: Warm temperatures and mostly clear conditions
boosted plant growth and allowed planting and harvesting to
proceed at a normal pace from October through most of December. October temperatures averaged from over four degrees
below normal at Brooksville to almost two degrees above at
Vero Beach with most southern locations above normal and
northern localities, below. Rainfall was spotty during October
and ranged from traces at Gainesville to over fourteen inches at
Perrine. The western Panhandle and northern counties were
mostly drier during October than southern regions. November
temperatures at the major stations averaged from normal to four
degrees above. November rainfall at the major stations totaled
from traces at Tampa and St. Petersburg to almost seven inches
at Daytona Beach. Hot temperatures persisted throughout most
of December. Spotty showers brought significant rains to a few
scattered localities. However, most areas remained dry until a
storm front crossing the State dropped up to a half inch at the
end of December. This front also caused temperatures to fall to
freezing levels over most of the Panhandle and northern
Peninsula, and brought some frost to a few central localities.
December rains at the major stations totaled from about half an
inch at Orlando to over three inches at West Palm Beach, Miami
and Jacksonville. Temperatures during December at the major
stations averaged three to seven degrees above normal. How
ever, Jacksonville, Pensacola and Tallahassee recorded at least
one low in the 20s, and Melbourne, Orlando and Daytona Beach
reported at least one low in the 30s. Lowest temperatures over
central and southern areas were felt during the last full week of
December. The mild conditions for most of December allowed
field work to stay on schedule and hastened the ripening of
vegetables. The oldest strawberry plants ripened about two
weeks ahead of normal. Vegetable harvesting continued at a
steady pace for most of December. Cold temperatures persisted
into early January but caused no significant damage to vegetables. However, sand blowing across fields during early January
reduced some fruit quality.
TOMATOES: Warm temperatures and mostly clear conditions
boosted plant growth and allowed planting and harvesting to
proceed at a normal pace during October through most of
December. Dade County and other southern Peninsula areas
reported no significant damage when Hurricane Michelle passed
through the Florida Straits in early November. Blowing sand
powered by strong winds off the Atlantic Ocean caused some
quality reductions after mid-November. Milder weather during
most of December yielded some very good quality fruit.
Temperatures plunged to freezing levels in late December and
early January in many northern and central localities. However,
the crop escaped significant damage due to the short duration of
the colder temperatures and the southern location of acreage,
around Immokalee, Jupiter, Stuart and Homestead. Gusty winds
during early January blew sand which reduced some quality.
Producers hope to harvest 12,500 acres during the winter months
of January, February and March, down 1,500 acres or almost 11
percent from the 14,000 acres picked during the winter of 2001.
SWEET CORN: Mostly mild conditions during November and
December allowed planting around Homestead to progress
normally with planting finished by mid-December. The Dade
County and East Coast acreage escaped significant damage from
colder weather that arrived in late December and early January.
Harvesting started in Dade County in late December. Growers
expect to pick 8,000 acres through March, up 600 acres or 8
percent from the 7,400 acres harvested last winter.
BELL PEPPER: Mostly mild weather from October through
December increased plant growth and fruit development and
allowed planting to proceed at a normal pace in the growing
areas around Immokalee, Jupiter and Stuart. Strong winds from
the Atlantic caused some bud and bloom drop in the East Coast
region during early October with plants recovering well.
Temperatures dipped to near freezing levels in late December
and early January with no significant damage occurring due to
the short duration of the cold weather. Blowing sand caused by
gusty winds in early January lowered some quality. Producers
expect to harvest 5,600 acres this winter, up 1,200 acres from
the 4,400 acres picked a year ago.
STRAWBERRIES: Strawberry acreage is up six percent from
2001. Harvest started near the end of November. The warmer
fall weather increased foliage growth and hindered the amount
of fruit developed. However, fruit ripened about two weeks
earlier than normal causing the season-to-date volume to be up.
Growers are hoping for some cool weather to produce more
SNAP BEANS: Harvested acreage is expected to total 12,000
acres, up 1,000 acres or nine percent from the 11,000 acres
picked in the winter of 2001. The crop is in mostly good
condition. Harvesting is underway with good quality and
CABBAGE: Producers hope to cut 2,500 acres through March,
up 500 acres from the 2,000 acres picked last year. Harvest is
active. The crop is in good condition.
EGGPLANT: Harvested acreage is set at 500 acres, equal to the
acreage picked in the winter of 2001. Crop condition and
quality are good. Harvest is active.
The prospective area for harvest of 12 selected fresh market
vegetables during the winter quarter is forecast at 179,700 acres.
This is 6 percent below 2001 and 8 percent below 2000. Acreage
decreases in broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, head lettuce, spinach
and tomatoes more than offset acreage increases in snap beans,
cabbage, celery, sweet corn, and bell peppers. Eggplant acreage
Selected Fresh Market Vegetables and Strawberries: Area for Harvest by Crop, State, and
Total, Winter Season, 2000-2001 and Forecasted Area 2002
|BELL PEPPER: 1/|
|TOTAL OF CROPS LISTED|
|1/ Includes fresh market and processing.|