Chicken and waffles – an iconic dish. The mention of it immediately invokes an image for the hearer or reader, the consumer, whether that looks like “soul food,” Southern, sweet, savory, with or without white gravy. While some have rendered it “as American as shoefly pie,” a deeper dive into the dish’s history renders it more akin to apple pie: originating across the pond.
When it comes to US strawberry imports, we pretty much covered it in the last blog. More than 99% of the berries Americans eat from outside the country originate from Mexico. But that does not mean what little we consume from other countries is unimportant, though relatively insignificant. Consistently over the past five years, the US has purchased multi-million dollar totals from Canada, an increasing contingency of which is greenhouse grown.
The removal of trade barriers is typically marked by redistributive outcomes, often the shifts in production due to regional arbitrage. One of the most noticeable results of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was the influx of Mexican produce into the United States.
Though modern ag-tech has developed some mechanized processes for reaping fresh berries, widespread commercial adoption of such remains far off. Thus, of the nearly 27 billion pounds of American strawberries harvested in 2021, all but a few pints were picked by hand. That, folks, requires some intensive labor! But besides the sheer scale of workers needed to harvest strawberries, two more aspects of the industry prove extremely challenging: the availability of local labor and the seasonality of picking.
Florida’s strawberry season has officially kicked off, with USDA already reporting a few truckloads moving to grocery stores. While we eagerly anticipate picking up some of those fresh berries in the produce section, it will be a little bit before harvest is in full swing. So, in the meantime, let’s take a minute to discuss an aspect of the industry most might not consider very often: the frozen strawberry complex. Americans are blessed: most of us can access multitudinous fresh fruit varieties year round, including strawberries.
With the New Year upon us, many are setting resolutions. If it is not already on your list, add keeping good farm records to your list. Keeping records supports details and inventory when you need to purchase crop insurance or submit documents for loan requests, USDA filing and taxes.
How do I initiate a claim?
Call your crop insurance agent and follow up in writing/email (keep a copy for your records). Your crop insurance company will arrange for a loss adjuster to inspect your crop. It is your responsibility to call your crop insurance agent and initiate this process.
As we brace for potential impact from Hurricane Dorian, it is important that farmers and ranchers are prepared. The next few days are the perfect opportunity to ensure that your operation and your family are prepared for damages that may occur. Check out our hurricane preparedness tips.
Are you transitioning your family farm business to the next generation? Farm Credit of Central Florida understands how important it is to prepare the next generation to take over the family business. To help, we are bringing you five tips for consideration from our local farmers and ranchers who have already gone through the transition or are in the middle of the transition. Click below to watch our succession tips!
Effectively marketing small farm products can allow you to reach future customers you wouldn’t be able to reach in an everyday setting. When marketing your farm products be sure to differentiate yourself from others, travel to farm-related events, and network with current and prospective buyers.
Below are some questions to ask when developing your marketing plan.