This year has certainly been a year like no other. For more than five years, Produce Grower magazine has surveyed the industry by reaching out to growers across North America to see how their operations are faring and we're seeing some new developments. This year, we analyze the impacts of COVID-19 on the market, especially when it comes to e-commerce and staffing issues.
There’s good news in there, too. Direct-to-consumer sales of finished produce hit a five-year high in 2020, and sales of both edible transplant crops and finished produce at independent garden centers rose.
Crop diversity seems to be increasing, with tomatoes and lettuce taking the top two spots, but by a much smaller margin than we’ve witnessed in previous years. Herb production continues to increase, moving into the third spot for the first time this year.
The data seems to indicate that growers are branching out into new territory with many varieties seeing higher numbers like hot peppers, melons, pumpkins, zucchini and spinach.
Read on for more insights into the rapidly changing CEA market. – Kate Spirgen