Which crops growers are producing, what challenges they’re facing and who they’re selling to have all remained fairly consistent since last year, according to the results of our 2016 State of the Produce Industry survey. And while our respondents may not be experiencing booming growth, they’re not changing things up very much, which could mean that what they are doing is working well.

Most growers (about 79%), combine their produce with some sort of ornamental production. Their move into produce has been a way for them to diversify their offerings beyond the annuals and perennials they’re known for without completely switching over to edible crops. But as we’re experiencing stability in the edible crop market and taking note of the locally grown movement’s momentum, it may be time to look into opportunities to expand in the edible crop sector.

Many major growers have already taken that leap, including Ontario-based NatureFresh, who recently added 180 acres of under cover production in Ohio, and New York-based BrightFarms and Gotham Greens who have both branched out to Chicago after finding success in their respective New York operations. Even research institutions, like the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, also in Ontario, are dedicating more resources to CEA. Vineland opened a new state-of-the-art greenhouse research facility just months ago and is ramping up its research efforts for crops like eggplant that have untapped potential.

Are you considering taking expanding or shifting your focus to take advantage of growing consumer interest in local food? If so, drop us a line at cneiden@gie.net and let us know how you’re planning to add on in the near future.

Crops & production

Pest & disease

Customer base

Photography by Richard Boyd, Boyd Pearman Photography