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Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service ; 160
Title: Growing Strawberries in Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00020569/00001
 Material Information
Title: Growing Strawberries in Florida
Series Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service ; 160
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Brooks, A. N
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Publication Date: 1955
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Bibliographic ID: UF00020569
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: notis - AAB2846

Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Historic note
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Main
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida










Bulletin 160 June 1955


COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
COOPERATING
H. G. CLAYTON, DIRECTOR







Growing Strawberries in Florida


By A. N. BROOKS
Plant Pathologist, Agricultural Experiment Station Strawberry Laboratory

























Fig. 1.-Florida Ninety produces excellent yields of fine quality.
(4/5 natural size)




Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA
















BOARD OF CONTROL

J. Lee Ballard, Chairman, St. Petersburg Geo. W. English, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
Hollis Rinehart, Miami Mrs. Jessie B. duPont, Jacksonville
Fred H. Kent, Jacksonville R. L. Miller, Ph.D., Orlando
W. Glenn Miller, Monticello J. Broward Culpepper, Secretary, Tallahassee



STAFF, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE

J. Wayne Reitz, Ph.D., President of the A. M. Pettis, B.S.A., Farm Electrification
University 1 Specialist
Willard M. Fifield, M.S., Provost for John D. Haynie, B.S.A., Apiculturist
Agriculture V. L. Johnson, Rodent Control Specialist
H. G. Clayton, M.S.A., Director of Extension J. Russell Henderson, M.S.A., Agronomist I
M. O. Watkins, M.Agr., Asst. Director A. C. Mixon, M.S.A., Asst. Agronomist
F. W. Parvin, M.S.A., Asst. to Driector F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Veg. Crops Specialist
R. L. Bartley, B.S., Administrative Mgr.l S. E. Rosenberger, M.Agr., Asst. Veg. Crops
Specialist
AGRICULTURAL DEMONSTRATION F. E. Myers, M.Agr., Asst. Veg. Crops Splst.
WORK, GAINESVILLE J. Montelaro, Ph.D., Asst. Veg. Crops Splat.
James E. Brogdon, M.S.A., Entomologist
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor and Head 1 T. D. Haynie, B.S.A., Apiculturist
E. B. Borries, Jr., A.B., Associate Editor 1
H. L. Moreland, Jr., B.S.A., Assistant
Editor 1 HOME DEMONSTRATION WORK
M. H. Sharpe, Ph.D., Assistant Editor 1 TALLAHASSEE
K. S. McMullen, M.Agr., District Agent Anna Mae Sikes, M.S., State Agent
F. S. Perry, B.S.A., District Agent Eunice Grady, M.S., Asst. to State HDA
W. J. Platt, Jr., B.S.A., District Agent Helen D. Holstein, M.S., District Agent
R. S. Dennis, B.S.A., Executive Officer, Mrs. Edyth Y. Barrus, B.S.H.E., District Agt.
C. W. Reaves, B.S.A., Dairy Husbandman Joyce Bevis, A.M., District Agent
C. W. Reaves, B.S.A., Dairy Husbandman Mrs. Bonnie J. Carter, B.S., Home
Mrs. Bonnie J. Carter, B.S., Home
T. W. Sparks, B.S.A., Asst. Dairy Hush. Improvement Specialist
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb. Mrs. Gladys Kendall, A.B., Home Industries
J. S. Moore, M.S.A., Poultryman and Marketing Specialist
A. W. O'Steen, B.S.A., Supervisor Egg- Emily King, B.S., State Girls' 4-H Club
Laying Test, Chipley Agent
L. W. Kalch, B.S.A., Asst. Poultry Hush. Bronna Mae Elkins, B.S.H.E., Assistant
T. J. Cunha, Ph.D., Animal Industrialist Girls' 4-IH Club Agent2
J. E. Pace, M.S.A., Asst. An. Industrialist Martha Burdine, B.S., Interim Asst. Girls'
Club Agent
L. T. Nieland, Farm Forester Clu Agent
L. T n, Fm oste Alice L. Cromartie, M.S., Nutritionist
A. S. Jensen, B.S.A., Asst. Forester Lena Sturges, M.S., Asst. Food Cons.
H. G. Hamilton, Ph.D., Agr. Economist 1 Specialist
C. M. Hampson, M.S., Agr. Economist, Farm Susan R. Christian, M.S., Asst. Food Cons.
Management 1 Specialist
E. W. Cake, Ph.D., Marketing Economist Elizabeth Dickenson, M.A., Clothing Specialist
W. E. Block, Ph.D., Marketing Specialist Alma Warren, M.S., Assistant Editor and
Clyde E. Murphree, M.S., Asst. Economist Visual Aids Specialist
E. W. McElwee, Ph.D., Ornamental Hort. Frances C. Cannon, M.S., Health Education
Fred P. Lawrence, B.S.A., Citriculturisi Specialist
T. J. Sheehan, Ph.D., Asst. Ornamental Hort.
J. N. Joiner, B.S.A., Assistant Horticultui at NEGRO EXTENSION WORK
W. W. Brown, B.S.A., Boys' 4-H Club Aentc TALLAHASSEE
G. M. Godwin, B.S.A., Asst. Boys' Club Agent Floy Britt, B.S.H.E., Negro District Agent
T. C. Skinner, M.Agr., Agr. Engineer J. A. Gresham, B.S.A., Negro District Agent

SCooperative, other divisions, U. of F. 2 On leave. 3 In cooperation with U. S.











Growing Strawberries in Florida

By A. N. BROOKS

The success of commercial production of strawberries in Flor-
ida is based on two facts. (1) Fruit is produced during a period
of the year when it is not produced in any other area of the
United States. (2) An income is provided growers during an
off-period for most other crops. Although most of this fruit
is shipped to Northern markets, local marketing of fruit in
Florida is becoming more and more important, due to the rapid
increase in the population of the State.
Total acreage has fluctuated annually from a high of 11,000
acres in the early 30's to a low of 1,400 acres during the World
War II period. It has since levelled off to around 3,000 acres.
Most of this is now confined to Central Florida in Hillsborough
County, with smaller acreages in Polk and Hardee counties and
in the Northern area of the State in Bradford and Union coun-
ties. Considerable acreage has been developed in the lower
East Coast area to supply local markets. In fact, many cities
and towns in Florida are supplied with fruit from local fields.
The roadside stand and on-farm markets are becoming more
popular.
VARIETIES
For the past 45 years the Missionary variety (Fig. 2), a
chance seedling originating in Norfolk County, Virginia, about
1900, has been the main commercial variety grown in Florida.
The characteristics which made this variety desirable were
production of fruit starting during the short-day period of
December and continuing well into May. The yields were
fairly high and the fruit was of good size and quality, firm
enough to withstand long shipment. Plants produced a large
number of runner plants which were resistant to the common
leafspot disease. However, during the past 15 years virus in-
fection has taken place in various nurseries supplying plants
of the variety and yields of fruit from Missionary have greatly
decreased. At present virus-free plants are again available
from certain nurseries.
Over a long period of years many other varieties of straw-
berry have been tested but none found equal to Missionary in
early fruit production and total yields. Of the newer varieties








4 Florida Cooperative Extension

only those in which Missionary appeared in the parentage
showed any promise as to earliness and total yields.




















Fig. 2.-A plant of the Missionary variety, long popular in Florida.

At the Strawberry Laboratory in 1948 seed was saved from
Missionary in a field containing over 60 different hybrids; thus
the seed-parent of any plants developing from this lot of seed
would be Missionary. The pollen-parent might be either Mis-
sionary or any one of the hybrids. During the fruiting season
1948-49 plants from 1,075 of these seed were tested as to plant
and fruit characteristics. Of the 1,075 only 120 were saved
for further testing. In this line-up of 120 only one, No. 90,
showed great promise. No. 90 was thoroughly tested and dur-
ing the season 1951-52 the Strawberry Laboratory shipped 7,000
pints of fruit to Northern markets through regular commercial
channels, each crate being marked "Special No. 90". This
fruit was well received on the Northern markets. Consequently,
in March 1952 No. 90 was released by the Florida Agricultural
Experiment Station as a new variety. Since the growers of
Central Florida knew it as No. 90 and it had appeared on
Northern markets as No. 90, the name given the new variety
was "Florida Ninety".
During the season 1954-55 this variety made up 65% of the
acreage planted to strawberry in the Plant City area. It is









Growing Strawberries in Florida 5

being grown successfully in other areas of Florida and north
as far as Charleston, South Carolina. Some plantings have
also been made in the lower Rio Grande valley in Texas and
in the northern end of Andros Island.
Florida Ninety plants are vigorous and runner plant produc-
tion high. The fruit is large, pointed and bright red inside
as well as out (Fig. 1). Flavor is excellent. Although fruit
production starts 7 to 10 days later than some Missionary, the
total yields are high-5,000-10,000 quarts per acre against
1,000-3,500 for Missionary.

SOILS
Under proper soil management and cultural practices straw-
berries have been grown on several different types of soil in
Florida. Desirable soil characteristics are: (1) adequate or-
ganic matter and humus content to maintain good soil texture
and water-holding capacity, to prevent rapid leaching of plant
food and to increase the numbers and activities of the bene-
ficial soil organisms. (2) Drainage sufficient to maintain aera-
tion of the soil and prevent water-logging. (3) Sufficient fer-
tility for crop production, and (4) maintenance of soil reaction
in the correct pH range.
Soil Reaction.-Soil should not be too acid or too alkaline for
best growth of strawberry. The correct range lies between
pH 5.5 and 6.0 for most soils in Florida. CHECK THE pH
OF STRAWBERRY LAND BEFORE IT IS BEDDED. Soil
samples should be taken and the pH of the soil determined
several weeks before the land is to be bedded. Thus if it is
too acid, any lime-bearing material needed to correct this con-
dition can be broadcast and thoroughly disked into the soil.
None of the lime-bearing materials are of much value when
applied as a top-dressing to the surface of beds of plants try-
ing to grow in acid soil. The materials do not move down in
the soil to any great extent and hence should be mixed with
the soil before bedding so that plants roots will be benefited
thereby.

MAINTENANCE OF SOIL ORGANIC MATTER
AND HUMUS
In Florida the plowing under of cover crops is the chief
method of replenishing the soil with organic matter. Roots









6 Florida Cooperative Extension

as well as top growth are important in this respect. In many
cases a growth of native plants is the summer cover crop.
However, from the standpoint of the control of weeds and root
nematodes, it is better to use some planted cover crop. Crops
resistant to root-knot nematodes are velvet beans, crotalaria,
beggarweed and hairy indigo. With velvet beans the seed can
be drilled in rows to fit the equipment to be used for cultivating
the crop. This cultivation prevents the growth of weeds which
might enable root-knot nematodes to survive. It also reduces
the potential weed population so that less hoeing is necessary
on the following strawberry crop. Sesbania is a 60-day cover
crop which will materially check weed growth. It is about
the only crop that can be used on land subject to flooding dur-
ing the summer. On the other hand, it is a good host for root-
knot nematodes and sting nematodes, which even cause a
stunting of the sesbania plants. Sting nematodes are one of
the most destructive root pests on strawberry. Crabgrass also
makes an excellent cover crop for strawberry land, but it also
harbors the sting nematode.
Cover crops should be disked down and double cut on the
soil surface and allowed to dry somewhat before being plowed
under. In some cases it has been found valuable to broadcast
1,000 pounds per acre of a 4-7-5 or 4-8-8 fertilizer on the cover
crop after it has been double cut and just before the last disk-
ing prior to plowing under. This hastens the initial decomposi-
tion of the crop residue, especially with crabgrass, and when
the land is bedded it will contain sufficient fertilizer material
so distributed in the soil as to give the newly set plants a quick,
safe start.
If fertilizer is not broadcast as above it can be applied during
the bedding operation if it is placed so that roots will not be
set in the fertilizer and thus burn. For two-row beds the
band of fertilizer should be placed in the center of the bed
and the plant rows located 6 to 8 inches from either side of
center. For single-row beds the fertilizer bands should be
approximately 6 inches from center. If four bedding disks
are used for the operation, the fertilizer is applied in the fur-
rows made by the front two disks. This application of fer-
tilizer should not exceed 400 to 600 pounds per acre, depend-
ing upon the width of bed and types of soil, using the lesser
amount for light, sandy soils or wide beds and the larger amount
for heavier, loamy soils or narrow beds.









Growing Strawberries in Florida 7

If there is any doubt that the fertilizer will be placed in
correct position in relation to plant roots, it is best to make
up the beds without any fertilizer and thus avoid the chances
of burning the roots of the freshly set plants.

FALL SETTING OF PLANTS
Time of Setting.-For earliest fruit production Missionary
plants should be set during the last week in September and
Florida Ninety plants should be set October 8 to 15. Even
though the two varieties may bloom at the same time, it takes
five to seven days longer from open blossom to ripe fruit on
Florida Ninety than on Missionary. Thus first picking for Mis-
sionary may be the first week in December and for Florida
Ninety the second or third week.

NUMBER OF PLANT ROWS PER BED
Single-row beds are used if hand hoeing is to be kept to a
minimum. Beds are laid out on 36" to 40" centers and plants
set 12" apart in the row. This requires 13,200-14,520 plants
per acre.
Double-row beds (Fig. 3) are really the ideal layout with
beds on 52" centers. Rows are 16" apart on the bed and plants





















Fig. 3.-The double-row system of planting strawberries.









8 Florida Cooperative Extension

12" apart in the rows, plants alternate instead of opposite each
other in the two rows. This requires 20,260 plants per acre.
Triple-row beds are used to some extent in smaller fields in
the lower East Coast area.
Setting Plants.-Plant roots should always be protected from
drying out after the plants are removed from the nursery beds
and before being set in the field. If hand-setting is used the
plants should not be dropped very far in advance of the setter.






















Fig. 4.-The plant in center is set at the correct depth, the one on left too
shallow and the one on right too deep.

Machine setting of strawberry plants is becoming more and
more popular. Many different jypes of equipment are being
used. The self-propelled celery-type setter has been used to
a considerable extent but there is a tendency now toward the
use of setters pulled by tractors. Some have two persons feed-
ing plants to single-row setters, some single-row setters with
one person feeding plants. Others set two rows on one bed
or two rows, one on each of two beds. One even sets three
rows, one on each of three beds. By proper arrangements of the
one-, two- or three-row setters, double-row beds can be set by
making a round trip of the machine on the same bed or beds.








Growing Strawberries in Florida 9

Depth of Setting.-For either hand setting or machine set-
ting, strawberry plants should be so set that the bud and crown
are entirely above ground, while the whole of the root system
is below ground (Fig. 4). If set higher than this the roots
are exposed, causing the plants to dry out; if set lower, the
buds will be covered with soil and will rot. Plants set too high
have to have soil raked up to them. Plants set too low have
to have soil raked away from them. Either is a tiresome and
unnecessary task.
Roots should always be placed straight down in the soil and
the soil packed firmly about their entire length. Extremely
long roots should be trimmed before being set, so that they
fit, without doubling up, into the holes prepared for them.

SOURCE OF PLANTS FOR FALL SETTING
Florida-grown plants are best for Fall setting because they
can be obtained at the proper time-September and October.
Northern-grown plants cannot be obtained until November 1.
Florida nurseries are started in February each year. It has
been the practice to secure Northern-grown plants to set out
in these early Spring nurseries. Plants come from nurseries in
Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland and Tennessee. Plants from
these sources start growth immediately after being set out.
They produce one short crop of fruit and then start forming
runners. Enough runner plants are made on these February-
set beds to set out on other beds May 15-June 15. The runner
plants made during the summer and early fall on these latter
beds are used for Fall setting. Multiplication of plants from
February to October is 300 to 1-200-fold.
In some cases the spring nursery beds are not set until late
March and resulting runner plants are maintained on these
beds until removed for Fall setting. Multiplication of plants
under this system is 20 to 60-fold.

USE OF FLORIDA-GROWN PLANTS FOR SPRING
NURSERIES
During the past three years the following method has been
worked out:
Instead of using up all the plants for Fall setting, some
are saved and during the first week in December these plants
are removed from the nursery beds. These plants are thor-








10 Florida Cooperative Extension

oughly cleaned and washed and all but five leaves are removed.
They are packed into tomato field boxes, the sides of which
are lined with paper and the bottom containing a layer of
moist sphagnum moss. Plants are placed in the crate in
vertical position with tops up. Plants should fill the crate
but not be packed too tightly. These plants are placed in
cold storage for 60 days prior to being set out in February.
The ideal conditions of storage are 30-34 F. and 88-96% hu-
midity. However, even an ice-storage room at 25-34 F.,
where plants have frozen solid, has been found satisfactory.
When plants have been refrigerated for 60 days and set
out in February they produce runner plants just as quickly
as do those plants which come from the North at that time.
Note.-This is the only time of year that refrigeration of
plants is of value. Refrigerated plants set out in May and
June do not survive as well as those not refrigerated. Re-
frigeration of plants for Fall setting makes plants late in
producing fruit. Many runners are produced after setting.

FERTILIZERS
Nursery Plants.-The rows of plants set for Spring nurseries
are usually five to six feet apart, on narrow beds. One appli-
cation of 4-7-5 commercial fertilizer (20 pounds per 1,000
plants) shortly after setting should be enough to give these
plants a good start. Some good organic material as castor
pomace, tankage, etc., should be broadcast in the flat middles
between beds at the rate of 1,000 pounds per acre. These flat
middles are then kept harrowed and as the runners are pro-
duced, soil is worked to the sides of the beds. Thus, the
runners will always have soft soil in which to pin down. Grad-
ually the beds are increased in width and filled with plants
until only a small water furrow is left in the middle.
Too much fertilization of nursery plants is not advisable.
Fruiting Plants.-Fertilization prior to bedding of land or
at bedding time has been discussed. When such is done it
will not be necessary to fertilize again until four weeks after
setting.
If fertilizer was not applied prior to or during bedding, the
first application should be made after the set plants have
become established and after the beds have been hoed for the
first time. On two-row beds this application should be made









Growing Strawberries in Florida 11

between the two rows, and this is the only time that fertilizer
should be applied on top of the bed between the rows. All
following applications should be made on the side. On one-
row beds all applications are made on the side.
Rate of application is 20 pounds for each 1,000 plants. In
most cases this will be 300-400 pounds per acre. Applications
should be made at four- to six-week intervals so as to main-
tain a fairly uniform level of fertility in the soil. Of course,
moist soil is necessary for fertilizer materials to dissolve and
become available to plants. Hence, do not make another appli-
cation until the preceding application has become available to
plants. Burning of plants often takes place when too much
fertilizer is present in dry soil and a light shower of rain or
light irrigation makes a strong solution surrounding the roots.
For Florida Ninety fruit it is imperative that the fertilizer
have twice as much potash as nitrogen. Use such formulas as
4-4-8, 4-6-8, 4-8-8 for all applications. If for any reason more
potash is necessary, side-dress with muriate of potash, 100
pounds per acre. Apply potash evenly and do not exceed 100
pounds per acre to avoid burning of roots. Do not use "hot
shots". If some top-dresser seems to be necessary, use nitrate
of potash not to exceed 100 pounds per acre.
Even Missionary fruit is better if higher potash fertilizers
are used.
CULTIVATION
Shallow cultivations should be so timed to keep down heavy
weed growth and to prevent crusting of the soil. Deep cultiva-
tion is neither necessary nor desirable. The manner of hoeing
is important. Up to fruiting time a soil mulch should be
maintained on the bed and soil raked to the plants if necessary.
However, during the period of fruit production the tops of
beds should be shaved lightly to get rid of weeds. A dirt mulch
at this time is not desirable, as the fruit sinks easily into this
loose soil during rains and subsequently rots. Chemical weed
control has been tested in Florida but as yet no chemical has
been found safe to use on strawberry.

MULCHING
Mulching is employed to keep fruit clean by preventing its
coming in direct contact with the soil. Pine straw (needles)
and native grass straw are the materials most commonly used.








12 Florida Cooperative Extension

Shavings are used to a limited extent in some areas. Mulching
is practiced in the Starke-Lawtey area, in Manatee County and
on the East Coast. The fruit from mulched plants is com-
paratively free of sand and washing is not necessary. Usually
when plants are not mulched, as is the case in the Plant City
area, all fruit must be washed before it is packed.
Application of mulch is usually delayed as long as possible
to permit continued cultivation and fertilization. The material
is commonly put on about the time the plants begin to bloom.
It may cover just the tops of the beds or tops and middles
(water furrows).
There are some disadvantages connected with mulching.
Mulch harbors insects, delays early fruiting due to lower soil
temperatures in mulched plots and makes weed control diffi-
cult. Frost damage is usually more severe to plants in mulched
areas.
IRRIGATION
At least 80 percent of the strawberry fields in Florida now
have some type of irrigation.
Overhead Irrigation.-This is the type most commonly used
in Central Florida and may be permanent installations or port-
able pipe. Various types of sprinklers or perforated pipe are
used.
Surface or Flood Irrigation.-Water is run down the alleys
between beds. This method is not now used as much as for-
merly because of the high labor cost and length of time re-
quired to irrigate.
Seep Irrigation.-On the East Coast and in the South Central
area of the State this type of irrigation may be used. Deep
furrows or ditches are located at 30- to 50-foot intervals in the
field. These are filled with water and irrigation takes place
by a lateral movement of water through the soil.
The ideal program of irrigation and drainage is one which
will result in as uniform a supply of soil moisture as possible.

FROST PROTECTION
At present there is not much attempt being made to protect
blossoms and fruit from frost and freezing temperatures. Two
methods are still being used to a limited extent.
Paper Cover.-Paper of the proper width is applied to beds
to cover the plants. Soil is used to weight down the edges








3rowing Strawberries in Florida 13

of the paper to prevent its being blown away. This protection
is of some value during frosts, but not during freezes. With
careful handling paper can be used several times.
Overhead Irrigation with Fine Nozzles.-By this method irri-
gation is started before the temperature drops to 32 and is
continued until the temperature is again above 320 and all ice
has been melted from the plants.

PICKING AND PACKING
Picking is done preferably early in morning when the fruit
is cool. The stems are pinched off in picking and ought not
to be more than 1/4" long, as longer stems interfere with proper
packing. Fruits must not be snatched from the plant nor
should a number of berries be held in the hand at one time.
After picking, it is important that fruit be carried to the
packing shed before long exposure to the sun (Fig. 5). Close
supervision of picking generally pays dividends.

Fig. 5.-A strawberry field and packing shed.












0 |








14 Florida Cooperative Extension

If berries are picked from unmulched plants it is commonly
necessary to wash the sand from the fruit. When the fruit
is washed before packing, frequent changing of the wash water
will result in less Rhizopus rot (leak) in transit. The berries
should be allowed to drain fairly dry before being packed, so
that the cups will not become wet and unsightly by the time
they reach the market. Well-packed fruit, in clean white cups,
is more attractive and commands a better price.
None other than firm, ripe, fair-sized berries should be packed.
All imperfect, decayed, green or small (less than than 3/4 inches
through greatest diameter) fruit should be discarded.
CULLS MAY BE PACKED AND SOLD AS SUCH BUT IT
WOULD BE BETTER FOR THE STRAWBERRY INDUSTRY
IF NO CULLS WERE PACKED AND ONLY A GOOD GRADE
OF FRUIT MARKETED.
Oblong pint boxes in 36-pint crates have been the standard
containers.
The fruit should be packed firmly enough to prevent percep-
tible settling in the cup before reaching destination. The top
is crowned slightly but not so much that the fruit is crushed
by the divider strips.
During the season 1954-55 a new 24-pint wire-bound crate has
been tested. It consists of two layers of 12 pints each. The
top layer is self-supporting and hence does not press on the
fruit below it. This results in less loss of fruit due to crushed
strawberries. The markets like the new crates for two rea-
sons-(1) because of the smaller size and (2) because fruit
arrives in better condition.
If a covered truck is not used for transporting the fruit from
the field to the shipping platform, the fruit should be covered
with a light-colored, preferably white, cloth. Air should be
allowed to circulate freely about the fruit during the trip. This
circulation will evaporate some of the water remaining on the
berries from washing and thus slightly lower the temperature.
Since Florida strawberries are sold as fancy fruit and as
a rule command a good price, it is the duty of every grower
to see that a quality pack of fruit is maintained. U. S. Grade
No. 1 should be observed in packing strawberries.

SELLING METHODS
State Farmers Market.-The grower brings his fruit to the
market where it is inspected and auctioned off to the highest








Growing Strawberries in Florida 15

bidder who then pays the grower for the fruit as soon as it is
delivered to the proper car or platform for shipment.
Direct Sale to Local or Distant Markets.-The grower may
haul his fruit to various towns and cities in Florida, or even
to cities in nearby states which do not receive much fruit
through normal commercial channels.
Roadside Stands or On-Farm Markets.-In Central and South
Florida this type of marketing is becoming more and more
popular. Where first-class quality of fruit is maintained the
returns from marketing in this way have been high.
Sale of Stemmed Fruit to Processing Plants.-The grower
can sell fruit which is too ripe for shipment or slightly off-
grade to "frozen food" plants. The fruit is cleaned and stem-
med at the field packing shed by the grower's labor. It is
placed in quart containers and carried to the processing plants,
where it is sold for 18-200 per pound. During period of de-
pressed prices on the fresh fruit market more than 90 percent
of the fruit picked is thus prepared and sold to processors.

METHODS OF SHIPMENT
Most of the fruit is shipped North in refrigerated trucks.
Express and freight refrigerated cars are also used during
peak production of fruit. Early fruit or some special lots dur-
ing the season may be shipped by cargo planes.

PRE-COOLING FRUIT PRIOR TO SHIPMENT
Strawberries arrive on the Northern markets in much better
condition if the fruit is pre-cooled to 400F. before being shipped.
This is especially true during periods of warm weather when
fruit is picked during the heat of the day and fruit temperatures
are 800 or higher.





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