Four vegetables give Michigan a top three production ranking

Michigan ranks in the top three states in the nation for the commercial production of pickling cucumbers, carrots, celery and asparagus.

Michigan Vegetables, Carrots, Asparagus, Celery, pickles, cucumbers, pickling cucumbersConsumers may be surprised to learn that Michigan ranks first in the nation for the production of pickling cucumbers. The 2012 USDA Vegetable Summary reveals that growers planted 29,700 acres of cucumbers for pickles and harvested 154,980 tons of them. Pickles are big business in Michigan and the 2012 harvest resulted in an estimated production value of nearly $37.2 million. Pickling cucumbers are a warm season crop that favors well-drained sandy loam soils. Pickling cucumbers are short and blocky and have thinner skin than common slicing cucumbers.

Consumers may also be surprised by Michigan’s second place ranking for the production of fresh market carrots. While California growers produce the bulk of the carrots grown in the United States, Michigan farmers planted 1,600 acres of fresh market carrots which produced 42 million pounds of carrots in 2012. Texas ranked third in the nation by producing 32.5 million pounds. Carrots, a cool season crop, prefer deep, well-drained muck and mineral soils.

Michigan also ranked second behind California for the production of celery, a member of the parsley family which also includes carrots, dill, fennel and caraway. Celery is a cool-season crop that is grown as an annual, although it is a biennial plant. Celery is more difficult to grow than other vegetables as it requires muck soils, a lot of water and cool temperatures. In 2012, the celery harvested from 2,000 acres of land in Michigan had a production value greater than 22.3 million dollars.

In 2012, asparagus growers harvested 10,300 acres which produced 19.1 million pounds of asparagus with an estimated value of 17.2 million dollars. Approximately 35 percent of the harvest is sold as fresh and 65 percent is sold to be processed. This vegetable is a member of the lily family and prefers well-drained soils.

In addition to these top ranking vegetables, Michigan farmers provide consumers with many other fresh vegetable choices. Consumers are encouraged to learn more about these and other vegetables by checking out the Michigan State University Extension Michigan Fresh fact sheets.

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