Publisher Letter: Celebrating the red gems of Florida

If Florida citrus is the state’s icon, then Florida strawberries could be called the red gems in our fields. As the second-largest producing region for strawberries in the U.S. — and the only region in the country that produces them in the winter — there are few things that can be compared to our sweet and succulent fruit.

In contrast to its competitors, a Florida strawberry is larger, juicier, and more flavorful than any others you can find. Its taste has a reputation that certainly precedes itself, because the wildly popular Florida Strawberry Festival draws crowds from all over the world. The annual tradition, now in its 80th year, is held in Plant City, which is appropriately dubbed the “Winter Strawberry Capital of the World.”

To get you ready for the upcoming festival, which is being held February 26 to March 8, we’re pleased to bring you The Strawberry Edition of Central Florida Ag News magazine. Inside this issue, you’ll find a feature story with a detailed update on this year’s harvest so far, as well as how the industry is utilizing cutting-edge technologies to increase production, save resources and costs, and grow a better berry.

You’ll also discover how to please large crowds (or just the members of your family) with fun serving and cooking ideas for these little red gems. Plus, check out the photos from the Strawberry Picking Challenge, a local charity event brought to you by Bright House Networks and Wish Farms.

Thanks for reading this edition, but I must give you fair warning: Looking through the pages of this magazine might leave you with a strawberry craving that will not go away until satisfied. Enjoy!



Nelson Kirkland is publisher of Central Florida Ag News. He may be reached by e-mail at

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