Vegetables like kale, collards, and cauliflower are trending crops
These crops are rising in consumer demand and making them good candidates for growers looking to diversify.
Farmers are always on the lookout for trending crops that are a good option for diversifying. Growers want crops that are sure to find a buyer; the best way to identify such crops is to look to those commodities that are enjoying the spotlight on restaurant menus, cooking shows, and in consumer’s estimations. Crops such as kale, collards, and cauliflower are currently high in consumer demand, and as such are excellent candidates for growers who want additional crops to diversify their operation. Explore the options, below.
Trending Vegetable Crops
The status of many vegetables—notably kale—as a “super food” is behind the popularity of the commodities. High in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, kale is a favorite ingredient of restaurants and cooking circles dedicated to healthful cuisine. Collards and cauliflower are also full of vitamins and nutrients, and their versatility in cooking makes them perennial favorites.
Kale, collards, and cauliflower have a long history of being grown in the Southeast, so there is no need to try to reinvent the wheel when choosing to diversify with one of these crops. According to a University of Georgia Extension publication, the cabbage and leafy greens industry makes up nearly 20 percent of Georgia’s vegetable industry acreage, accounting for nearly 30,000 acres a year.
Growing Requirements for Cauliflower
The majority of the vegetables above are cool season crops, needing cold weather to grow correctly. According to a North Carolina Extension publication, cauliflower can be grown in North Carolina with proper management as both a spring or fall crop, though the fall crop is generally better.
Like most cool season crops, these vegetables prefer weather that is neither too cold nor too hot, and they need adequate moisture. Special measures may be required—such as greenhouses or hotbeds—to protect cool season crops from freezing weather.
Crop diversification is not a new idea, though it’s constantly evolving, and can be a very important part of running a successful operation. Learn more with AgAmerica Relationship Manager, Don Harden.