Tag Archives: University of Florida

The 2015 Florida Blueberry Season: Production high, but prices low

The numbers from the 2015 Florida blueberry season are in, and despite ideal production conditions, growers saw a drop in farm price.

According to UF horticulture professor Jeff Williamson, the record breaking production output caused an oversupply that drove down prices.

“I think yields (pounds of blueberries per acre) were real good. I’m not sure all of the crop was picked,” he said. “With the high volume, prices declined earlier than they normally do.”


Prices could also have been affected by unusual weather, both in Florida and in Chile. The Florida blueberry season spans the last few weeks of March to the first week of April, right after blueberries stop being imported from Chile and before more northern states like Georgia can start their harvest. For those few weeks, Florida is the only source of fresh blueberries in the U.S. market, and growers can charge a premium price.

This season, cold weather prevented Chilean growers from starting their harvest on schedule, and they were exporting blueberries to the U.S. until the end of March. A warm spring in Florida forced growers to start harvesting two weeks earlier than normal, meaning both regions were selling blueberries at the same time. This, coupled with the fact that the Florida heat caused most farms to produce even more than usual, created an oversupply in the market and brought prices down for everyone.

Despite these setbacks, the 2015 blueberry season was still deemed profitable, and USDA statistics show that consumers taste for blueberries is only growing, with domestic sale increasing form 40 million pounds in 1980 to 429  million pounds in 2013.

For more information about the 2015 blueberry season, check out this article: http://www.theledger.com/article/20150612/NEWSCHIEF/150619823?p=1&tc=pg


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New Citrus Varieties from UF Citrus Breeding Program

Two Horticultural Sciences researchers, Dr. Fred Gmitter and Dr. Jude Grosser have developed three new citrus cultivars that offer substantial improvements over current varieties. Drs. Gmitter and Grosser are citrus breeders at the UF Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.


A new tangerine is one of several new citrus varieties released by the University of Florida

A new tangerine is one of several new citrus varieties released by the University of Florida

Just last week the new citrus cultivars were approved for release, so they will now be tested by various growers and then eventually commercialized.  The first variety is a sweet orange selected for its low seed numbers, high soluble solids, exceptional juicing qualities, and strong mid-season production.

The second release is an early-season Hamlin sweet orange. This selection also offers superior juice color and excellent soluble solid profiles making it ideal for processing, as well as early season production.

The third selection released is a seedless fresh-market tangerine.  This particular fruit is extremely sweet and flavorful, and has been a favorite of school kids visiting the laboratory in Lake Alfred.

The committees that approve releases have all had an opportunity to sample the new products.  The results were unanimous that these releases shared exceptional flavor and sweetness, and the lack of seeds was also recognized.

The release of these three new cultivars is exciting because it is the first step in their wide commercialization.  These newly approved releases follow on the heels of nine other new cultivars that were previously approved for release, including other seedless mandarins, deep red-fleshed pummelos, and a grapefruit hybrid that may circumvent the so-called Grapefruit Juice Effect.  The industry is always seeking improved citrus varieties for juice and the fresh market.  UF researchers in the Horticultural Sciences Department are helping to meet that need.

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