Sheriff sees increase in complaints of trespassers picking saw palmetto berries on private property

The berries have become a popular commodity for pickers due to the increase in cost per pound being paid by buyers. The buyers then sell the berries to pharmaceutical companies who convert them into supplements used for prostate health, and for other medicinal purposes. (Source: Martin County Sheriff’s Office) 

Martin County Sheriff’s Agricultural Detectives will be on extra patrol in an effort to deter trespassers who are going onto to private and state protected properties to pick saw palmetto berries.

So far, detectives have issued 11 trespass warnings and have made six arrests on individuals caught picking berries on private land without landowner consent.

Palmetto berries season begins in August and runs through October.

The berries have become a popular commodity for pickers due to the increase in cost per pound being paid by buyers.

The buyers then sell the berries to pharmaceutical companies who convert them into supplements used for prostate health, and for other medicinal purposes.

Possessing, and picking palmetto berries is not illegal, however, trespassing on private property, or state protected land is.

Berry pickers also face other dangers such as heat stroke, dehydration, bee and wasp stings, and snake bites.

If you are going to pick berries on private property, you must have written permission from the property owner, as well as a contact number so the land owners can be contacted by deputies.

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