Since 1975 the U.S. consumption of vegetables has steadily increased. In 2010 the United States Department of Agriculture, reporting a wide use of vegetables, said, "On a fresh-weight basis, per capita use of all vegetables and melons averaged 440 lbs. during the first nine years of this decade, with potatoes accounting for 30 percent of the total. Tomatoes, all lettuce, all sweet corn and onions round out the top five vegetables."
Virtually every state in America grows vegetables. Georgia is famous for Vadalia onions. Gilroy, California, is the garlic capital and Idaho has gained fame from its baker potatoes. Washington state is the largest producer of carrots, followed by California and the U.S. is the second largest producer of carrots behind China. The main vegetable-growing states are California, Washington, Idaho, Wisconsin and Florida. Wyoming has only 952 acres in vegetable production compared to nearly 1.2 million acres in California.
The rich red dirt of the fertile Arkansas River Valley provides an ideal environment for growing many fresh-market vegetable crops. Bixby, Oklahoma, on the banks of the Arkansas River, claims to be the fresh produce capital of the area. Zucchini, sweet corn, okra, cucumbers, beans and pumpkins are the prize crops. Although Oklahoma produces a substantial amount of sweet corn, Iowa continues to lead the nation as the number one sweet corn producing state.
Blessed with abundant sunshine, plentiful rainfall and warm temperatures, the Hawaiian islands are an ideal spot to grow most vegetable crops. The fertile volcanic soil makes it easy to grow carrots, eggplant, beans, melons and squash. The gentle trade winds provide air circulation necessary to preventing mold and plant disease on plants grown in tropical climates. There are literally hundreds of different varieties of fruits and vegetables grown in the islands. The Island of Maui is famous for onions. The annual value of the onion crop in Maui county exceeds 9 billion dollars.
Snow peas, tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, onion, okra, and all varieties of peppers flourish in Florida. Abundant sunshine, lots of rain and fertile soil provide the perfect environment for growing vegetables.
California continues to lead the nation in vegetable production. Almost 50 percent of the fresh vegetables purchased in supermarkets across the United States comes from California. The Salinas Valley is the largest producing area of cool-weather crops including lettuce, spinach, artichokes and tomatoes.