Food Trends Driving Growth Opportunities for Florida Farmers

Florida-grown Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts a favorite among foodies? Yep. If not already, growers should consider adding this cole crop to the mix.
Photo by Bonnie C. Wells

Food trends come and go. But for ones that gain traction, they certainly can influence what you grow. So, what’s cookin’?

According to noted “Supermarket Guru” and author Phil Lempert, sustainability is among the top trends shaping the culinary world in 2017.

Surveys show more consumers today care about where their food is coming from, who is doing the growing, and how it is grown. Beyond just a trend now, the grow-local/buy-local movement has spread its roots and is gaining ground with each passing year. And you have adapted/are adapting. More growers are partnering to provide that local flavor being sought.

On the Menu

During a cole crops field day I attended in Hastings, FL, this past November, Candice Anderson of Bejo Seeds spoke about alternative crops for local growers to consider. Among the items on her list were selections fueled by current consumer food trends. The lineup featured Brussels sprouts, broccoli rabe, beets, carrots, and Asian veggies. Some of the selections on the list were a surprise. Who would have ever thought Brussels spouts would be a gastronomic darling? And beets, really?

However, as I dug further in my search for more emerging trends, there was a growing consensus among what I found.

asian eggplant
Asian veggies like eggplant and Luffa gourd are hot right now.

According to a recently published study, locally grown Asian vegetables are trending in the U.S. This not only jibes with what I heard during the field day, but also it is good news for growers who already have found that niche, and others possibly seeking one.

Per the study, a research team — which included input from UF/IFAS scientists — set out to find intel about how much money consumers spent on ethnic vegetables and herbs. From there, the researchers used the consumer choices to test numerous cultivars at university plots in Florida, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. According to results, the following cultivars were the most popular for Asian-Indian consumers: bitter gourd, eggplant, cluster beans, bottle gourds, turmeric, fenugreek, sorrel spinach, and radish greens.

Are you growing any of these? I can think of a few operations around the Tri-County Agricultural Area that are. And based on statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the American population is expected to include 40 million Asians by 2030. Sounds like an opportunity too good to pass up.

Here’s to Your Health

In addition to sustainability, Lempert says “enhanced foods” are hot. Enriched with nutritious components like antioxidants, herbs, and extra protein, mundane food becomes superfood. He predicts more of this to come from items like matcha (a fine powder ground from specially grown and processed green tea), butter, botanicals, edible cannabis, and (once again) beets.

Need another case in point? If you haven’t checked out what Ft. Pierce, FL-based Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co. is serving up lately, you might be surprised to find other fruit and now veggies among its award-winning citrus juice selections. New juices include: Carrot Tomato Celery; Pumpkin Apple Spice; and yes, Orange Beet.

If you can’t beat (beet) ’em, join ’em.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Food Trends Driving Growth Opportunities for Florida Farmers

Citrus Stories
Citrus
June 27, 2017
Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference Takes Aim at HLB
Education program focuses on managing the disease with available tools and tactics. Read More
Mobile technology farming
Citrus
June 22, 2017
Technology Boom Boosting Farm Life to a New Level [Opinion]
Whether it is human genetics or genetics applied to plants, knowledge is growing at a dizzying pace. Read More
honeybee with varroa mite
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives Varroa Mites Ideal Conditions to Spread
Parasite has adapted, thrived with colonies in modern hives. Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Your Crops
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Citrus greening and psyllids
Insect & Disease Update
June 21, 2017
First Case of Deadly Citrus Disease Confirmed in Alabama
State agriculture officials taking action to assess and stop the spread of HLB.  Read More
Florida orange juice label close-up
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Help Consumers Read past Negative Headlines About Orange Juice
When it comes to this liquid sunshine, there are plenty of positives to point out. Read More
Citrus
June 19, 2017
$9M in Grants Allocated to Address Ag Water Resources Issues
Projects that focus on drought stress, flooding, water quality, and postharvest use are among awardees. Read More
Citrus under protective screen
Citrus
June 19, 2017
How to Get the Most out of Growing Citrus Under Protective Screen
2017 Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines provides insider information on unique production method. Read More
'Gold nugget' seedless tangerine
Varieties & Rootstocks
June 19, 2017
Florida Growers Seeking to Strike Citrus Gold
Varieties showing HLB tolerance giving growers hope, sparking more questions. Read More
Illustration of CRISPR-Cas9
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Make Way for Life-Saving Science on Your Farm [opinion]
While nature always finds a way to adapt, science continues to find other ways to cope. Read More
Jellyfish genes causing citrus phloem to glow
school lunch tray full of Florida-grown blueberries and watermelon
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Florida Farm to School Initiative Makes New Strides
Connecting with local growers, communication, and flexibility are keys to a successful nutrition program. Read More
Business Planning
June 14, 2017
How Ready Pac Went from Near Bankruptcy to Innovation in 3 Years
The company's new CEO, Tony Sarsam, spoke at United Fresh's MKT Expo about how investing in staff, increasing communication, and reaching for the same goal can transform a business. Read More
FL Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill
Citrus
June 9, 2017
State Budget Cuts Threaten to Take Big Bite from UF/IFAS Programs
Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed plan includes trimming more than $6 million from research and education-based initiatives. Read More
Citrus
June 9, 2017
Agriculture Water Standards Compliance Dates Extended
FDA says the agency will extend the compliance dates after feedback from stakeholders. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Last Chance for New Operations to Sign U…
The Census of Agriculture, which takes place every five years, guides federal, state, and county level decisions on policies affecting growers. Read More
Citrus
June 28, 2017
Felony Charges in Beehive Thefts
The men accused of heading up an operation to steal and re-sell beehives, Pavel Tveretinov and Vitaliy Yeroshenko, 48, have Read More
Citrus
June 27, 2017
Label Expanded for Low-Volatility, Water…
Fight against Huanglongbing gets new weapon as Abamex label now includes citrus, grapes, pome, stone fruit, and strawberries. Read More
Citrus
June 27, 2017
Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conferenc…
Education program focuses on managing the disease with available tools and tactics. Read More
Citrus
June 22, 2017
Technology Boom Boosting Farm Life to a …
Whether it is human genetics or genetics applied to plants, knowledge is growing at a dizzying pace. Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives V…
Parasite has adapted, thrived with colonies in modern hives. Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Y…
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Help Consumers Read past Negative Headli…
When it comes to this liquid sunshine, there are plenty of positives to point out. Read More
Citrus
June 19, 2017
$9M in Grants Allocated to Address Ag Wa…
Projects that focus on drought stress, flooding, water quality, and postharvest use are among awardees. Read More
Citrus
June 19, 2017
How to Get the Most out of Growing Citru…
2017 Citrus Achievement Award winner Ed Pines provides insider information on unique production method. Read More
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Make Way for Life-Saving Science on Your…
While nature always finds a way to adapt, science continues to find other ways to cope. Read More
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Florida Farm to School Initiative Makes …
Connecting with local growers, communication, and flexibility are keys to a successful nutrition program. Read More
Business Planning
June 14, 2017
How Ready Pac Went from Near Bankruptcy …
The company's new CEO, Tony Sarsam, spoke at United Fresh's MKT Expo about how investing in staff, increasing communication, and reaching for the same goal can transform a business. Read More
Citrus
June 9, 2017
State Budget Cuts Threaten to Take Big B…
Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed plan includes trimming more than $6 million from research and education-based initiatives. Read More
Citrus
June 9, 2017
Agriculture Water Standards Compliance D…
FDA says the agency will extend the compliance dates after feedback from stakeholders. Read More
Citrus
June 7, 2017
Super Soaker Deleting Drought Status in …
From famine to feast, Florida’s record-setting dry spell has given way to a wide-open wet season. Read More
Citrus
June 1, 2017
Big Bucks up for Grabs to Water-Wise Flo…
St. Johns River Water Management District cost-share funding would support implementation of conservation-minded practices and technologies. Read More
Citrus
May 30, 2017
Devastating Citrus Disease Found in Oran…
HLB detected in plant material from residential neighborhood. Quarantine expanded. Read More