How To Be Successful Growing Ethnic Vegetables

Thirty years ago, cilantro was unheard of in the U.S., but now, there’s almost as much cilantro grown in the states as parsley, says Rick VanVranken, head researcher at the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension, and “Marketing Matters” columnist for American Vegetable Grower.

That’s because cilantro began as an ethnic vegetable, grown specifically for use by small pockets of immigrants who wanted a taste of their home country.

And while not every ethnic vegetable will follow in cilantro’s footsteps to the mainstream markets, the market for ethnic vegetables is growing, and it’s a sustainable option for growers in certain areas of the country where ethnic communities congregate.

New Crops, New Opportunities
In South Jersey and the surrounding East Coast areas, VanVranken says there are now many opportunities for growers to enter the ethnic vegetable market by catering to the large Hispanic, Asian, and African populations.

A large portion of the ethnic vegetables being grown and sold cater to the Asian markets. Greens, mustards, and cabbages make up the bulk of the crops.

But the newest opportunities for growers, VanVranken says, are in the African vegetable market.

A recent wave of African immigrants coming from countries like Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ghana are all in the market for crops specific to their culture, particularly African eggplants.

Morris Gbolo, owner of World Crops Farm in Buena Vista Township, NJ, grows three varieties of African eggplants for his customers that originally came from West African countries and now come from neighboring states to pick their own vegetables from his 10-acre operation.

Gbolo, who came to the U.S. from Liberia in 2002, started World Crops Farm in 2007. Instead of starting with the crops, however, Gbolo corralled his customer base first.

“I talked to church groups and sent out flyers,” Gbolo says. “I surveyed groups of people to see if there would be enough interest to make the farm successful, and there was.”

Pages: 1 2

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Vegetables Stories
FruitsMedfly Find Prompts Quarantine In Portion Of San Diego County
August 28, 2015
A portion of San Diego County has been placed under quarantine for the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) following the detection Read More
Golden Rice
CitrusAnti-GMO-Fueled Threats Force Reallocation Of Biotech Education Funds
August 27, 2015
University of Florida officials say plans are to re-allocate a donation intended to improve the public’s understanding of science after Read More
ProductionNew Vegetable Grafting Technique Reduces Labor
August 27, 2015
Researchers patent a process to eliminate rootstock with the goal of making grafting more affordable in the U.S. Read More
money
CitrusMonsanto Drops Current Bid For Syngenta Acquisition
August 27, 2015
Even with a revised proposal that sweetened the pot to $46.2 billion, financial expectations still fall flat. Read More
Leafy VegetablesThe Latest Vegetable Varieties For Covered Production
August 27, 2015
Check out cucumber, pepper and tomato offerings available from DeRuiter, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Rijk Zwaan, and Syngenta. The greenhouse varieties are Read More
Leafy VegetablesIceberg Lettuce Prices Up In California’s Abnormal Weather Conditions
August 26, 2015
Price may be up but the heat and humidity are diminishing quality. Read More
Crop ProtectionOnline Help In Determining ID Of Small Parasitic Wasps
August 25, 2015
A web-based document helps users navigate to the correct genus or species of a wasp. Read More
The Latest
CitrusFederal Judge Blocks Clean Water Rule
August 28, 2015
  According to RISE (Responsible Industry For A Sound Environment), a federal judge in North Dakota has blocked implementation of Read More
Food SafetyLawmakers Urge FDA To Help Small Farms With FSMA Compli…
August 28, 2015
Letter from members of Congress asks FDA to expedite assistance and training for small producers. Read More
FruitsMedfly Find Prompts Quarantine In Portion Of San Diego …
August 28, 2015
A portion of San Diego County has been placed under quarantine for the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) following the detection Read More
Golden Rice
CitrusAnti-GMO-Fueled Threats Force Reallocation Of Biotech E…
August 27, 2015
University of Florida officials say plans are to re-allocate a donation intended to improve the public’s understanding of science after Read More
ProductionNew Vegetable Grafting Technique Reduces Labor
August 27, 2015
Researchers patent a process to eliminate rootstock with the goal of making grafting more affordable in the U.S. Read More
money
CitrusMonsanto Drops Current Bid For Syngenta Acquisition
August 27, 2015
Even with a revised proposal that sweetened the pot to $46.2 billion, financial expectations still fall flat. Read More
Leafy VegetablesThe Latest Vegetable Varieties For Covered Production
August 27, 2015
Check out cucumber, pepper and tomato offerings available from DeRuiter, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Rijk Zwaan, and Syngenta. The greenhouse varieties are Read More
Crop ProtectionOnline Help In Determining ID Of Small Parasitic Wasps
August 25, 2015
A web-based document helps users navigate to the correct genus or species of a wasp. Read More
FruitsTraining Session To Use Online Water Management Tool
August 25, 2015
Workshop to be held at the University of California will cover CropManage, an online tool that can be used to manage water in a variety of vegetable crops. Read More
Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg
CitrusCounting Down The Top U.S. Colleges For Natural Resourc…
August 25, 2015
STEM-fueled area of study presents wide field of opportunity for future grads. Read More
Leafy VegetablesNational Kale Day Gains Momentum
August 25, 2015
October event expands with key partnerships.   Read More
Disease ControlBioSafe Systems’ ZeroTol 2.0 Now OMRI Certified
August 25, 2015
Broad spectrum bactericide/fungicide is now cleared for use in organic production. Read More
FruitsClimatologist: Do Not Count On El Niño To End Californi…
August 25, 2015
 In a California Department of Food and Agriculture blog post, California state climatologist, Michael Anderson, urged growers to be mindful Read More
Protected AgricultureWhat To Look For In Greenhouse Vegetable Varieties
August 25, 2015
When choosing varieties for the greenhouse keep in mind that they are bred for greenhouse conditions, such as lower light, higher humidity, and higher temperature. Read More
Crop ProtectionReinforcing Agriculture Research Of Utmost Importance […
August 21, 2015
We are still a ways out from finding the best replacement combinations for methyl bromide, but we’ll get there. Read More
Charlotte's Web-medical marijuana in greenhouse
CitrusMedical Marijuana Endeavor Anything But Pipe Dream For …
August 20, 2015
While applicants await fate for one of the five available licenses to weave ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ best-case-scenarios play out. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Farmers Feted For Water Quality Standards
August 20, 2015
Marking 20 straight years of success, producers help Everglades Agricultural Area exceed phosphorus reduction goals. Read More
old world bollworm climbing on vegetation
CitrusOld World Bollworm A Potential New Pain For Florida Far…
August 20, 2015
Growers in the Sunshine State on high alert as serious pest is detected for the first time in the U.S. outside of port interceptions. Read More