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Vegetable Industry

Know Florida

Circa 1935

The production of fresh vegetables has long been one of the State's valuable industries.

Commercial shipments of vegetables begins in September and October and extends through the season, well into the following July. Some types of vegetables for home use and local markets are produced twelve months of the year.

The heavy commercial vegetable area of the State is in the central and south Florida districts, although some counties in north Florida ship a limited amount from fall and spring plantings.

Florida stands first of all the States in the shipment of snap beans, first in the shipment of celery, first in the shipment of tomatoes. Other crops of commercial importance are cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, and English peas. On a smaller scale are produced such crops as squash, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, endive, mustard, collards, romaine, escarole, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, okra, onions, etc.


The heavy commercial production and shipments of melons is largely confined to the central, north and northwest sections of the State, although south Florida contributes a light shipment of early melons. The production of watermelon seed is an important industry in some of the north Florida counties, particularly in Jefferson.


Winter-grown strawberries find their way to market from Florida farms from November to June and are succesfully grown in practically all sections of the State. The commercial crop for northern markets is confined largely to the following counties: Hillsborough, Polk, Hardee, Sarasota, Manatee, Sumter, Pasco, Bradford, and Union.

Practically all types of vegetables can be grown successfully if proper attention to location and type of soil is first considered.

The phenomenal growth of vegetable industry in Florida can best be illustrated by the following data:

In 1891 Florida produced 161 carloads of snap beans with a value of $112,822. For the season 1933–34, 11,277 carloads valued at $6,800,970. In 1891 Florida produced 938 carloads of tomatoes valued at $352,226. For the season 1933–34, 10,977 carloads valued at $7,608,449. In 1898 Florida shipped four carloads of celery and during the season 1934-35 there was produced in the State a total of 8,101 carloads, valued at $5,464,437.

Cash Return from Leading Crops

The total value of Florida truck crops for 1934–1935 season has been computed by the State Marketing Bureau at $33,936,126. Celery accounted for the greatest number of carlot shipments, but tomatoes brought in the most money. With a greatly increased acreage in beans, it is believed that the bean crop will exceed the celery crop in value for the 1935–1936 season.

Leading truck crops and their gross value for the last season are:

Beans and Limas $5,352,544
Cabbage 2,176,254
Celery 5,464,437
Cucumbers 848,995
Eggplant 249,060
Lettuce 172,752
Peas, English 508,014
Peppers 1,395,112
Potatoes 2,738,626
Tomatoes 6,793,450
Strawberries 2,902,613
Watermelons 815,199
Miscellaneous 4,434,810

Excerpt from "The Vegetable Industry" Know Florida, Issued by the State Department of Agriculture, Tallahassee, Circa 1935, pgs. 14-15.


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