The 2009 Census of Horticultural Specialties, released by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, reveals that the sales of food crops grown under protection in the United States more than doubled in the last decade. U.S. horticultural operations are becoming more diverse and taking advantage of newly emerging agricultural trends. NASS Division Director Joe Prusacki believes this increase is possibly linked to increased consumer interest in fresh fruits and vegetables.
The sale of food crops grown under protection, including fruits and vegetables in hothouses, as well as transplants for commercial vegetable production increased 149% since the last time the census of horticulture was conducted in 1998. In 2009, growers reported $553 million in sales of food crops grown under protection, up from $223 million. Total sales of transplants for commercial vegetable production increased from $156 million to $331 million during this same period
Prusacki reports that overall, total sales of horticultural crops between 1998 and 2009 increased by 10% to $11.7 billion. The census results also show a more than average sales increase for bedding plants, nursery stock and propagative materials. A downturn in sales however was documented for cut flowers down 21%, foliage plants down 14% and cut Christmas tree sales down 3%.