Group Title: Veg. crops MR
Title: Potentials of vegetable production in north and west Florida
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 Material Information
Title: Potentials of vegetable production in north and west Florida
Series Title: Veg. crops MR - Florida Agricultural Extension Service ; 65-7
Physical Description: 6 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida -- Agricultural Extension Service
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Extension Service
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1965?
Copyright Date: 1965
Subject: Vegetables -- Marketing -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: Caption title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094915
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 434439147

Full Text

JUL 1 1 1972
Producing Vegetables for Sale in Markets Outside North ad West Florida

Over the years many requests have been received frcm var MwAagea 4jiVpo orida

and vest Florida concerning the feasibility of growing vegetables for fresh market.

Many kinds of vegetables can be grown in most areas of north and west Florida if

proper, modern techniques and procedures are used. The important thing is to sell

these crops and to receive sufficient return for them to allow a profit for the

grower. Thus, in determining the feasibility of commercial production of any

vegetable, it is necessary not only to know whether the crop can be grown but also

to know if the crop has a reasonable chance of being marketed at a price sufficien-

tly great to cover production cost plus a profit for the grower.

Present day marketing of fresh vegetables is greatly different from what it

was twenty years ago. The number of buyers has greatly decreased and thus buyers

remaining buy larger quantities. These buyers want volume of a uniform good qua-

lity over a period of time. The longer they can buy in one area the better they

like it. This change is purchasing has tended to concentrate the production of

vegetables into relatively few areas. To attract buyers to an area means that the

area must demonstrate its ability to have available quantities of uniform produce

at a given period of time.

As vegetable areas have become concentrated, fewer farms producing larger

acreages of vegetables have become increasingly coamonplace. Along with increased

acreages and larger farms has come a smaller and smaller profit on each package

sold. Thus, large acreages plus high yield are essential if growers wish to make

a living growing vegetables.

Only high quality merchandise can be sold. Drainage, irrigation, good control

of insects, diseases and other plant pests are essential. Thus, irrigation and

good spray or dusting equipment must be available for virtually all vegetable crops.


Since vegetables are extremely perishable, adequate labor for harvesting must be

available when the crop reaches the proper stage for harvesting and ample facilities

available for washing, precooling, and packaging so that it can be done quickly as

well as efficiently. Rapid movement from the field through the packing house and

to the final market is necessary if quality is to be maintained. To produce good

yields of high quality vegetables for market requires not only suitable land, equip-

ment, production supplies and labor but skill and knowledge in plant production.

Some vegetables require considerably more skill and expense to produce than

do some others. Celery and staked or trellised tomatoes* are examples of crops

requiring considerable skill and expense to produce successfully. It costs more

than $500 an acre to grow celery and another $600 an acre to harvest and market.

Staked tomatoes cost more than $600 an acre to grow and another $700 to harvest

and market. It is questionable whether a new production area should consider the

production of crops requiring this size investment except where the products may be

sold at premiums on local markets.

Probable Crops Suitable for Production for Sale Out-Side of Area

Among the crops that may be suitable for growing in north and west Florida on

sizeable acreages are watermelons, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, southern peas and

okra (primarily for processing), pickling cucumbers, greens and possibly cabbage.

During the past four or five years, a number of county feasibility studies

have been made of West Florida counties. These studies have indicated the possi-

bility of certain specific crops being grown for rather specific markets. Most

have emphasized the importance of competition with crops from peninsular Florida

and from southern Georgia. It has been repeatedly emphasized that there are

vegetables that could be grown in certain West Florida counties if growers were

willing to meet certain production and marketing criteria. Among these were:

* See Cost and Returns from Veg. Crops in Fla. Agr. Econ. Mimeo Report Ec. 64-11


1. Ability and willingness to produce at a low profit per package; 2. Equip-

ment and facilities to apply up-to-date disease and insect control to crops:

3. To provide good water control (irrigation and drainage) for most crops;

4. Willingness and ability to apply desirable production techniques; 5. Suffi-

cient capital to allow for assuming risk of crop loss either from elements or

markets; 6. Adequate labor; 7. Willingness and ability to assemble produce at

central markets; 8. Willingness to grade and pack a standard product essentially

meeting established grade standards and producing sufficient volume to justify

experienced marketing man to handle sales. With these things in mind, growers may

want to reassess the desirability of growing vegetables.

Certain crops would appear to fit in with the general crop pattern of many

West Florida counties and these may be the ones that should be given first priority.

Some of these crops are:

1. Watermelon is one such crop with more than 10,000 acres being grown and

harvested. It is questionable whether acreage of this crop can be greatly expan-

ded but attention should be given to lowering production cost on the acreage


2. Sweet Potatoes would appear to be a suitable crop for production. Weevil

control which only a few years ago was extremely difficult need not be a serious

problem if recommended controls are used. There is a market for quality sweet

potatoes throughout the State at all seasons of the year. Most sweet potatoes

sold in the State are imported from areas out-of-state. Labor requirements are

high for producing and harvesting the crop. These may be greatly reduced by the

use of modern equipment. Ample acreage would be necessary to justify the use of

this equipment. Equipment needs, in addition to usual fann equipment, would in-

clude transplanters, spraying or dusting equipment and harvesting equipment.

3. Southern Peas or edible Cowpeas is another crop that could be successfully


grown as both spring and fall crops. There is a continuing increase in demand
for this crop for processing. Prices paid for crops for processing while not high

can be profitable to grower who learns to produce high yields at relatively low

cost. Mechanical harvesting equipment often furnished by the processor has

eliminated much of the labor required for producing this crop. Contracts with

processors should be established before committing large acreages to this crop.

4. Cucumbers for pickles Many communities in North and West Florida have

at various times grown this crop. Where adequate labor is available this appears

to offer a most excellent opportunity. Many. present pickle producing areas in

the U.S. are dependent on imported labor for harvesting the crop. This labor may

disappear or at least will become much more expensive, depending on federal pro-

grams finally adopted. The strict application of modern production technique will

permit greatly increased acre yields. Again, markets should be established before

committing any acreage.

5. Greens including turnips, mustard and collards have been grown to a

limited extent and it is probable that in certain areas expansion of this crop may

be possible. Probable success of any expansion will probably depend on the grower's

ability to produce a quality product, to assemble at a control point and to grade

and package a standardized product over a period of time.

6. Cabbage is a possible crop for several areas, suitable production facili-

ties including irrigation and spraying or dusting equipment should be available

before attempting to grow the crop for commercial production. A study of present

cabbage production in Florida and price received by grower may give an indication

of the possibilities of this crop. With good marketing facilities, it may be

possible to expand the production of cabbage for spring harvest.

7. Cantaloupe is another crop that has a good potential for certain areas of

West Florida. Production of this crop is dependent on growers using the very best


of modern techniques, including irrigation, frost protection and good disease

and insect controls. Quality of melons produced in Florida quite often is below

quality produced in dry land areas of the West. However, the ability to produce

and sell this crop at a lower price than western melons is a distinct advantage

that should allow for a sizeable production. Without good culture including disease

and insect control, growers cannot hope to produce melons having desirable market

quality. This crop would require assembling in a central point for marketing and

careful control of market quality by rigid grading of melons.

8. Okra for processing may be a suitable crop. Arrangement for sale should

be made before committing sizeable acreages.

Crops Suitable for Local Markets

As population continues to expand in North and West Florida, there is an in-

creasing local demand for fresh vegetables. Many of these demands can be met by

growers in the area. Among the vegetables that could be grown are the ones men-

tioned for sale outside of the area, plus beans (bush, pole and lima) tomatoes,

peppers squash, strawberries, lettuces, onions (both green and mature), eggplant

and broccoli and many others. Sale of crops for local use has no uniform pattern

but will vary fram area to area. In same areas curb markets or roadside stands

have provided outlets for local grown produce, in other areas door to door house

sales have worked. Probably sale to established local stores or to supply houses

furnishing supplies to stores, restaurants and hotels has been the most successful

method of selling sizeable quantities. In some cases a combination of several of

these methods may be desirable such as roadside stands plus direct sale to store.

Irrespective of method of marketing repeat sales are based on buyer wants

being well satisfied. Merchandise of uniform good quality sold at a competitive

price is the best way to insure repeat sales. Good production practices are as

essential for producing crops for sale on local markets as for more distant sales.


Producing high yields of top-quality is dependent on using the very best tech-

niques for growing the crop and proper grading, packaging and handling are es-

sential to place this top-quality produce on the market.

Information of the production and handling or grading of these crops for

out-of-area sales or the ones indicated as possibilities for local markets is

available for anyone needing such information. The Florida Agricultural Extension

Service is willing and anxious to assist any group of growers who have the desire

and facilities to meet the criteria for producing commercial vegetables. Again,

it should be emphasized that vegetable production is a high risk industry and

profits in the industry are not high and over a period of years are made only by

those skilled in management including both production and marketing.

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