Tomato Forum in Gadsden County

The recent hurricane season created many headlines, one of them being the shortage of tomatoes. Thursday, the annual Gadsden Tomato Forum was held to talk about the future.

Tomato farmers in Gadsden County will tell you that 2004 was one heck of a roller coaster ride.

Will Maxwell, a tomato farmer, says, “The spring we were plagued by over production, and I made the least money in the 28 years I’ve been farming, and then the fall, we made more money than I ever have, so I guess everything evens out.”

As the 2004 hurricanes destroyed Florida crops left and right, Gadsden County, although slightly bruised, ripened into one of just a couple places for companies to purchase the red fruit.

Stephen Olson, a UF professor, says, “Higher quality tomatoes were $40 a box compared to $3.50 a box in the spring.”

During Thursday’s annual Gadsden Tomato Forum, local farmers discussed the usual, from disease control to insect problems.

As for hurricanes, they're at the mercy of the weather.

But as for the high prices, there is some good news. One farmer says we should expect to see the lower prices in January.

Now, the fall tomato season is over in Gadsden County. However, farmers say they will begin replanting in March and start picking in June.


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