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Florida’s Wide Variety

August 7, 2009

orangesI just got back from visiting my aunt and uncle in Chicago last week. It was a great trip and a great city! As someone who works in the agriculture industry, it was interesting to walk through the grocery stores there. I never realized that Illinois had such a variety of produce! They also have community farmers’ markets all throughout the city so buying locally-grown stuff is almost just as easy as going to a large supermarket.  Pretty cool!

So while I was hanging out with my family, we were discussing my job and all the new projects I have been able to work on lately. I was explaining to my aunt that with every thing I do here, the main goal is to promote Florida-grown produce. Her response, basically, was, “So you tell people why they should buy oranges?”

Unfortunately, it’s a common misconception that all we grow in Florida is oranges. Yes, Florida is the biggest producer of oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines in the United States. In fact, we accounted for 73% of the total U.S. value for oranges in 2007. It’s definitely one of our biggest industries… But Florida has so much more!

Here are Florida’s top commodities from 2007:

  • Greenhouse/Nursery
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes (for fresh market)
  • Dairy Products
  • Cattle/Calves
  • Sugarcane
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Snap Beans (for fresh market)
  • Eggs
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broilers
  • Potatoes
  • Watermelons
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers (fresh and for processing)
  • Peanuts
  • Tangerines
  • Aquaculture
  • Squash
  • Cabbage (for fresh market)
  • Blueberries
  • Cotton
  • Hay

And those are just the top commodities! Let’s not forget celery, avocados, eggplant, soybeans, pecans, wine, alligator, a number of different species of fish and shellfish, okra, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, lettuce, timber, honey, and all of our great tropical fruits and herbs.

Whew, there’s even more but I think you get my point! I’ll admit that I didn’t know we grew half of this stuff before I started working here. I’m curious to know what other people think about all the different commodities we produce. Did anything surprise you on this list or did you already know about all of these?  I know I left a lot out – what else can you name that we grow?

image from flickr

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