Temperate Fruits

Apple

Apple growing in Florida has been limited to northern areas where a few local selections of medium to poor quality were grown. These selections fruited well only after the coldest winters. Northern apple cultivars such as Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh do not produce well in Florida. The main problem is that these selections receive insufficient cold during the winter and therefore are slow, and weak growing and fruit poorly when grown in Florida.

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Blackberry & Raspberry

Common cultivated blackberries are all native to North America. They are erect growing perennial brambles that bear black fruit. Most have thorns, although some are thornless. The berries do not separate from their receptacles when harvested (as do raspberries). Blackberries are available May to September. Raspberries do not typically grow well in Florida.

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Blueberry

Two types of blueberries are grown in Florida; southern highbush and rabbiteye. The earliest ripening southern highbush varieties ripen about four to six weeks earlier than the earliest rabbiteye varieties grown at the same location. Because they ripen earlier, southern highbush normally bring much higher prices than rabbiteye berries.

Rabbiteye blueberries grow best in regions of Florida where winters are as cold or colder than those in Ocala. Depending on the variety, southern highbush blueberries may be adapted from Sebring, Fla., up the Florida peninsula, into southeastern Georgia. Overhead irrigation for freeze protection is generally required for reliable fruiting of southern highbush blueberries because they flower so early. Blueberries are available April-June.

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Bunch Grape

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Fig

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Muscadine Grape

The muscadine grape is native to Florida and has been cultivated in the state for many years. It is harvested as single berries instead of in bunches and has smaller leaves and fruit with thicker skins than the bunch-type grapes. One reason for its popularity is that the muscadine is seldom seriously affected by disease or insect pests. Muscadine grapes mature in August and early September. They should be picked from the vines and stored at 40°F if not processed into jellies, jams, or wine.

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Olives

The Florida olive industry is made up of various producers from the Panhandle down to Polk County. On average small olive farms in Florida are on 50 acres or less. These small farms include you-pick groves and high density oil producers who often earn off-farm income and/or are maintaining a rural way of life or improving agro-tourism.

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Peach & Nectarine

Florida's mild winter climate and early spring season offer unique opportunities for early season peach and nectarine production. Currently, Florida produces some of the earliest commercial-quality peaches and nectarines in North America. Commercial acreage of peaches and nectarines in Florida is now estimated at less than 1000 acres (400 hectares).

The northern production area extends from Madison County west, and the cultivars grown in this area require 400 to 650 hours of chilling. For the central area of the state, cultivars that require 150 to 275 hours of chilling have been developed. Chilling hours vary considerably from year to year. Cultivars with the appropriate chilling requirement are determined based on the amount of cold received during average winters in each area. Peaches are available May-September.

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Pear

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Persimmon

Oriental persimmon (Diospyros kaki L.) has been grown in Florida for many years. At one time there were commercial plantings in Florida numbering about 22,750 trees. Because of marketing difficulties, however, the industry ceased, but the oriental persimmon is still a very popular dooryard fruit in Florida. It is widely adapted to many soil types and climatic conditions, although it grows best in the northern sections of Florida.

Persimmons go by two general classes: the astringent types and the nonastringent types. The astringent types should be completely soft before they are eaten; these are often equated with the "puckery" type of fruit. The nonastringent types are quite firm and can be eaten prior to softening.

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Plum

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Strawberry

Single crown (stem) strawberry plants are planted in Florida during the fall, from late September to early November. Flowering and fruit production generally begins in November and continues into April or May. Fruit production over this period is not constant, but occurs in two or three cycles, and can be interrupted by freezing weather. Because the highest quality fruit is produced on relatively young plants with not more than four or five branch crowns, plants are usually tilled under at the end of the fruiting season, and new plants are planted the following fall.

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