What a difference a year makes for one Florida farmer.
At a time of the season that should be the most profitable for Hank Scott, the 2020 spring was a disaster. It wasn’t due to disease issues, or increased pest pressures or adverse environmental conditions that affected crop yields. It was due to a global pandemic that nobody was prepared for.
“That’s our best season of the year, that spring pickle deal. (Last year) was devastating for us. It took a big hit,” said Scott, president of Long & Scott Farms in Mount Dora, Florida. “But we’re working our way out of it. Hopefully, we’ll have a good spring season this season. Maybe we’ll rebound and be back to somewhat normal, if that’s possible.”
Long & Scott Farms produces Kirby Cucumbers, also known as pickling cucumbers, as well as approximately 450 acres of cabbage through the winter.
It was this time last year that the pandemic impacted the country, shutting down restaurants and schools. Scott was left with a surplus of produce with no one to sell to. That’s not the case this season which makes this season somewhat of a success already.
“Stuff is selling and there’s somebody to sell it to this year which makes it nice. That’s pretty much the whole deal right there. Prices are a little bit better thank God. Of course, there was no price at all last year because there was little to no movement,” Scott said. “It hit us at the end of cabbage season and at the beginning of pickle season. Pickles were pretty much a disaster. Out of the six sizes that we grow, one size and maybe a few or two other sizes were selling fresh market. But processing was just dead. This fall was a little better. Prices weren’t great but we had a decent crop and sold for the most part everything.”
Weather has also been great for Scott’s cabbage production. No freeze, above average temperatures and the rain was just about perfect. But it also appears the winter freeze in Texas that devastated the state’s crops has also impacted sales for this Florida farmer.
“We had a beautiful cabbage crop. Sales were not great early in the year. We didn’t sell as much as we’d hoped or needed to sell early on. But we’re doing really good now, mainly because Texas got whacked so bad, which is sad that somebody’s got to get hurt for you to get a good market,” Scott said.