While it’s true that major greenhouse companies — such as NatureFresh Farms, Red Sun Farms, MightyVine, BrightFarms and Gotham Greens, to name a few — have expanded their presence in the U.S. in the past couple years, smaller operations have also been diversifying from ornamental production and adding on herb, fruit and vegetable varieties for sales opportunities within a short radius.
Research from our 2016 State of the Produce Industry Report shows that 65 percent of finished produce growers sell their product to outlets like farmers markets, onsite produce markets, online subscription services, etc. And what might those customers be looking for? Tomatoes, hot/sweet peppers, cucumbers, lettuces and herbs top the list of what’s grown in operations under cover and sold at market.
While produce growing certainly has its unique set of challenges compared to ornamental production (food safety regulations, as one example) — opportunities abound as more and more consumers turn to locally grown options at markets, grocery stores, restaurants, food subscriptions and more.
If you’re considering adding produce to your lineup, or expanding on the edible produce you offer, we want to hear from you. Drop us a line at email@example.com and let us know what you’re considering, as well as your successes and potential challenges.