About 15% of Nick Wishnatzki's 650-acre family strawberry farm sustained damage from Hurricane Ian. His fields in Duette, Florida, are underwater, and plastic used to protect the carefully prepped fields for planting season in November, were ripped off by Ian's 100-mph winds. That's sent Wishnatzki scrambling to get back on track.
"I think it's going to delay us about a week," said Nick Wishnatzki, public relations manager and fourth generation owner at Wish Farms. "It doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're talking about market prices, a week can mean a big part of your bottom line as a farm."
But he considers himself one of the lucky ones. His cooling and refrigeration facility in Plant City, Florida, had power back as of Friday morning, but his second facility just slightly south in Manatee County was still dark.
"We can manage like this for a couple of weeks, but anything beyond that will be a challenge," said Wishnatzki. "These facilities are critical during the harvest season because we ... cool the berries coming in from the field in order to maintain quality and shelf life."