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PLANT CITY, Fla. - The Florida strawberry season kicked off this week with its first flat of winter berries picked by Billy Keith Williams of D&K Farms based here.
The Florida strawberry industry produces nearly 18 million flats of strawberries each year with a farm-gate value approaching a quarter of a billion dollars. Hillsborough County produces 15 percent of the nation's strawberries, and virtually all of the nation's winter berries.
Though the first flat is made up of a California variety, Florida varieties make up more than 70 percent of the acreage in the area, according to the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. The most commonly used Florida varieties include Winter Dawn, Festival, Earlibrite and Carmine. Premium Florida strawberries will be available in greater quantities toward the end of November through March.