You may not have been expecting to see an issue of Produce Grower hit your mailbox this month, but here we are! We’re excited to bring you our first-ever September issue, a result of our desire to bring you even more of the great content you’ve come to know and expect from Produce Grower since its debut in 2012.

This issue also marks the first time we’ve dedicated an entire issue to the State of the Produce Industry research and related topics. In this quickly evolving market, it’s vital to stay current on what’s going on in the industry to be able to continually adapt and improve your business. Over the past year, we’ve seen new greenhouses establishing themselves all over the U.S. and Canada, especially in rural areas (if you missed our story on BrightFarms, Kentucky Fresh Harvest and AppHarvest, read it here: While tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are still the top crops, we’re still seeing a lot of diversity in what’s being grown, including specialty eggplant and herbs that cater to specific ethnic groups in North America.

The forecast looks bright for the produce industry. 52 percent of growers expect increased sales compared with 2016, while another 36 percent project flat sales. Only 11 percent of growers predict decreased sales, which is a good sign for the industry’s health. You can see these results and the rest of the research and analysis in this year’s State of the Produce Industry Report.

We take a look at a produce grower with a focus on sustainability here, and a packaging and marketing innovation here. See how to prevent common physiological disorders in this month’s edition of the Hydroponic Production Primer, and understand the state of food safety requirements by reading Lisa Lupo’s article on the topic. Finally, Leslie Halleck talks trends and the need for produce-based “comfort food” in this month’s Edible Insights column. | (216) 393-0290

Twitter: @Karen_GIE