Make us your home page

Whatever happened to: local agriculture

Efrain Napooseno waits to have his strawberries inspected in February.


Efrain Napooseno waits to have his strawberries inspected in February.

PLANT CITY — This year was not a great one for Hillsborough County strawberries.

"It was really warm early in the season," said Stephen Gran, the county's agriculture industry development manager.

The warm weather caused too many strawberries to ripen at once. That overabundance of berries flooded the market, driving prices down, Gran said.

There's hope for the current crop, though, said Ted Campbell with the Florida Strawberry Grower's Association.

"Right now, the weather is cooperating," Campbell said. "We're tired of this, all this hot and cold. Let's have a normal year for a change."

Citrus production was down in the past year, mostly due to acreage being reduced because of disease, Gran said.

Vegetables, such as tomatoes, zucchini and squash, fared better and the ornamental plants used in landscaping experienced a slight resurgence, Gran said.

"That industry had been declining over the last several years because of the downturn in the housing market, but that has begun to stabilize," Gran said.

But the newest additions to Hillsborough County's farming scene may be the fastest increasing crops of the year: blueberries and peaches.

"Blueberry acreage has been on the increase in the last several years," Gran said. "And we have quite a bit of peaches being produced."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at

Whatever happened to: local agriculture 12/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 29, 2012 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas wants to see impact of tourism bucks spent on big events

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– Pinellas County relies on more than just beaches to attract visitors. County government also spends millions to help sponsor big-name events to draw even more tourists.

    The Pinellas County Tourist Development Council awareded up to $250,000 to help sponsor the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Appointments at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and the Straz Center highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell its new chief executive officer, effective Oct. 16. Selected by the Y's CEO Search Committee following a five-month search, Mitchell will succeed Tom Looby, who is retiring. Looby has served the Y Movement for 37 years, the past 10 …

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell as its new Chief Executive Officer. [Handout photo]
  3. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  4. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  5. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]