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Strawberry farmers turn to flowers to generate revenue during off season

Strawberry farmers turn to flowers to generate revenue during offseason
Posted at 9:10 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 00:01:26-04

PLANT CITY, Fla. — Strawberry farmers are thinking outside the box during the off season to generate more revenue.

There are acres and acres of beautiful flowers, where strawberries once were, and it’s making passerby's want to stop.

“I drove by yesterday and it was beautiful and so I dressed my daughter up today and I'm like, let's go take some pictures,” Kinsley Hovarter said.

There are 10 acres of sunflowers and zinnias growing at Berry Sweet Acres in east Hillsborough County. The growers are letting customers pick their own bouquets. Elena Helms brought her two daughters.

“I wanted to do something with my girls, and I said let's go pick some flowers and they never knew we had these beautiful flowers,” Helms said.

Strawberry farmers turn to flowers to generate revenue during offseason

More and more strawberry growers are choosing to plant flowers during the off season. Typically, growers plant a cover crop in the summertime, then plow it under to fertilize the soil to prepare it for the strawberry season in the fall.

“Normally we pay for our cover crop seed and there's no money that comes back out of that. We plant it and it puts the nutrients back into the soil," said Vice President of Berry Sweet Acres, Kandice Parke. This potentially we can make a little bit off of and still use it as a cover crop.”

The flowers are a win-win, generating money during a time when profits are low, and inflation is high.

Strawberry farmers turn to flowers to generate revenue during off season

“There has been a lot of inflation in material and labor throughout the year with growing strawberries, so we’re trying to be creative and think of new ideas of how we can help our farm be profitable,” Parke said.

You pay a $2 entry fee and then you pay a set price for each flower that you pick. The plants are expected to be on the farm through the end of June.

Berry Sweet Acres will have a yoga class overlooking the gorgeous flowers June 11. It’s happening from 8:30 am-9:30 am and costs $10.