A survey of blueberry acreage in Florida

J. G. Williamson, Paul M. Lyrene, E. P. Miller


During spring, 2000, a survey form was mailed to all county extension offices in Florida where commercial blueberries are grown. Survey participants were asked to report the number of commercial blueberry acres in their counties and categorize acreage by type (southern highbush or rabbiteye) and by age (<3 years old, or 3 years old or older). Results of the survey indicated that total statewide blueberry acreage decreased between 1989 (the date of a previous survey) and 2000. However, southern highbush (SHB) acreage had increased by about 23%. The region of greatest decline in blueberry acreage was in the Florida panhandle west of the Apalachicola River which contained primarily rabbiteye (RE) blueberry farms. The region of greatest expansion was central peninsular Florida where SHB blueberries grown for the commercial shipping market predominate. The leading blueberryproducing counties in Florida in terms of acreage in descending order are; Alachua, Highlands, Polk, Hillsborough, and
Lake. Approximately one-third of all blueberry acreage in the state was less than 3 years old. Commercial SHB acreage har vested for the fresh fruit shipping market is increasing in Florida, but the acreage of rabbiteye for local sales appears to be less than the market could sustain, especially in areas near large population centers.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283