Carrots in the Suwannee Valley
Are carrots grown in Florida?
Carrots in the Suwannee Valley region (the North Central portion of the state) have become more popular over the years. Around 4,000 acres were planted and harvested in the area this year and the crop has the potential to expand across the Suwannee Valley area in the near future because of the ideal conditions North Florida has to offer for the crop to thrive.
How are the conditions of North Florida ideal for carrot production?
Deep sandy soils, a mild winter climate, and the availability of high-quality water are key to good carrot growth. Also large tracts of land suitable for carrots, and the close proximity to large markets on the east coast makes the Suwannee Valley region an ideal place to grow carrots. Carrots need deep sandy soils to produce long, straight carrots with few blemishes.
What are the benefits?
The crop is planted during early fall and is harvested in late winter through spring. The crop proves to be a good option for farmers during a part of the year when few high value crops are grown. Additionally, carrots offer diversity by adding new nutrients to the soil and helps to break the cycles of crop-specific pests.
Where do the carrots go?
In North Florida, carrots are primarily packed fresh in cellophane bags to be sold in grocery stores along the east coast. Carrots are also being grown in the Suwannee Valley with the intention to transport them to northern processing facilities to provide carrots at a time when farmers in those areas do not have carrots for harvesting.
What is Extension’s role in carrot production?
Overall, UF/IFAS Extension’s role is to provide the most recent research information on carrots to our growers. We do this through a variety of communication strategies. Often, we offer grower field days so those interested can see the research first-hand. We also provide workshops, presentations at conferences, research reports and Extension publications. On-farm consultations to assist growers by trouble-shooting and working through problems are one of the most important aspects of Extension’s role.
Check out this short reflection video of the Suwannee Valley 2019 carrot season!
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By: Student Intern Denver Cameron, and Madison County Extension Agent, Dan Fenneman
UF/IFAS is an Equal Opportunity Institution