By Maegan Beatty
What started as a tropical storm, Hurricane Idalia hit landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Idalia made landfall this past Wednesday morning near Keaton Beach, which is about 75 miles southwest of Tallahassee. Idalia left hundreds of thousands of people without power in Florida and Georgia.
The storm has had many effects on people throughout the state of Florida, but luckily, many specialty crop growers throughout the state seem to have experienced little harm. Sue Harrell, director of marketing for the Florida Strawberry Growers Association, said growers in the Plant City area made it through the storm with very little damage.
“There was a small amount of plastic damage in trouble spots where we are bedding, but we dodged a bullet,” she said. “As soon as it dries up, we will be back in the fields to finish up bedding.”
Christina Morton, director of communications for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, expressed her gratitude for the minimal hurricane damage to Florida growers.
“Based on early reports, we are grateful to hear that our family and friends who were in the impacted communities are safe. Generally speaking, while a limited number of growers saw significant impacts in the Big Bend region, much of the state’s specialty crop growers were spared,” she said. “For growers who were able, normal operations resumed Thursday. Any time we experience a weather event in Florida, we are reminded of the great care and commitment of our growers, who work tirelessly to ensure millions of Americans have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”