2017 was an exciting year for the produce industry, with many new greenhouses opening up and new technologies being developed for vertical farms. The results of the 2017 State of the Produce Industry Report are encouraging, with more than half of growers reporting anticipated growth in sales revenue through the end of the year. The industry has been relatively stable and seems poised for expansion as more and more consumers are becoming interested in greenhouse and locally grown produce.

Based on Greenhouse Management’s 2017 State of the Industry Report, we know that 58% of you are growing edible crop transplants, 47% are growing herb plants and 33% are growing finished produce. Whether you’re one of the ornamental growers already growing these crops, or are considering diversifying into produce, the information in this year’s Produce Expansion Guide will assist you as you grow and expand. Over the next few pages, we share some of sister publication Produce Grower’s 2017 State of the Industry stats so you can gain insights into the current market. Read on for seven production tips for tomato growers; a primer on physiological disorders affecting flowers, fruits and foliage; and a case study showing how Houweling’s Tomatoes is meeting consumer demand while remaining environmentally friendly.

26% of respondents said that their operation is 100% edible crop transplants, while 24% of growers said their operation is 100% finished produce.
Overall, 42% of growers package and/or process finished produce at their operations. While all growers who grow fruits and vegetables need to be cognizant of food safety regulations, it’s of utmost importance to those who are taking the additional step of packaging or processing the product.
More than half of the produce growers surveyed anticipated an increase in sales volume last year, while more than a third projected flat sales. The good news, however, is that a mere 11% predicted decreased sales in 2017. The overall produce industry seems to be doing well.
Tomatoes are still the most popular crop being grown, and the main crop growers anticipated growing more of in 2017. That year, nearly half of growers planned to increase their tomato production, up 10% from 2016. About 20% more growers anticipated increases in hot/sweet pepper production compared to 2016, with 39% of growers stating they’d be growing more peppers. Overall, growers reported more anticipated growth in transplants, versus finished produce. Source: 2017 State of the Produce Industry, Produce Grower