PLANT CITY, Fla. — Warmer than usual temperatures in December have some Central Florida farmers changing the way they are managing their fields.

At Parkesdale Farms, workers are now picking fields in two-day instead of three-day rotations.

Warm weather means the berries mature more quickly, and need to be taken off the field faster.

What You Need To Know

  • Warmer December temps changing fruit picking patterns

  • Berries mature faster in warm temps so have to be picked faster

  • The berries likely won't be as big and may not be as sweet, Matt Parke of Parkesdale Farms says

"That's what I did to change, to combat the heat right now," said Matt Parke with Parkesdale Farms.  "And if we get to Christmas and we get that cold snap that they are predicting, then I'll go back to a 3 day pick."

The warm December we have been experiencing won't ruin crops in central Florida, however farmers say if the warmth continues in to January it could change the kinds of strawberries and other fruit you get at the store.

"The berries will be there,” Parke said. “But they won't be, they will be non-sizable berries, maybe the sugar bricks won't be as high in them, might be a little more of a tart berry. Definitely a softer berry with the heat.”

The calendar crossed in to meteorological winter on December 1, and there is still plenty of time for temperatures to cool.

Parke says his family has been farming strawberries since 1956 and they've seen all kinds of fluctuations in temperatures, both warm and cold, during the growing season.

Parke says it's too early to be worried about anything, and are optimistic a cooler weather pattern will come in time for the final weeks of the main growing season in January and February.