Farmers Prevail Even Through Toughest Season

This season has been one for the books. Personally, I've been calling it a "doozy." Just as history books teach, I suspect this season will serve as a good lesson for the consumers as well as the farmers.

As Florida farmers, we pride ourselves on our resilience. In the past, we’ve come up against freeze conditions, lack of chill hours, leaf disease, pests, and especially… super cheap imported fruit, just to name a few. This year, we faced an opponent never before seen—coronavirus. The pandemic threatened us on multiple fronts, from the health and safety of agricultural workers to supply chain bottlenecks.

It would have been a convenient time to throw in the towel, but that isn’t something blueberry farmers, or any farmers, know how to do. We know how to fight, adapt, and evolve. We did all of those things and more. We did our best and tried to help consumers understand the vital role we play. We are, after all, the farm in the farm-to-table equation.

At Kirkland Farms, the u-pick season almost didn’t happen. When we did open for u-pick and we-pick, we followed all CDC guidelines to safeguard everyone’s health. That meant enforcing social distancing of 6 feet and limiting the farm to 10 guests at a time, disinfecting between customers, and implementing reservations via tickets sold online.

It was a first for everyone involved, but I’m pleased to say that our wonderful community rallied to support us and to help us finish up the u-pick season on about as positive note as possible given the adverse conditions.

         The commercial market was another story completely. Between the impact of coronavirus and cheap imported fruit, we experienced the lowest average price per pound in 11 years of existence on our farm. That said, I’d like to (again) advocate for the American Grown Campaign that we’ve all been hearing about. If you haven’t heard of this yet, check it out at

As I’m sure fellow blueberry growers will admit, it was a “doozy” of a season. Still, resilience, innovation and work ethic is what personifies farmers in general. That’s what we do. Thanks for reading The Blueberry News!

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