Many farmers around the country are seeing temperatures slowly creep up as spring arrives. Winter weather is subsiding and plans are being set for the spring planting season. Yet, many farmers have already been busy harvesting their crops this year. Farmers who are in warmer southern climates experience little to no frost resulting in a year-round growing season. So, while you are busy thinking of planting your crops, consider your fellow farmers that are in states that will produce crops in time for spring.
California is a powerhouse of production as farmers have worked to grow the most food in the nation with over $50 billion in cash receipts in 2017. There are over 400 different commodities grown in the state with grapes and almonds being the most abundant crops.
The majority of American fruits and vegetables are grown in the Golden State. Kiwis are usually harvested in early November making them available during the winter and early spring season. The end of the walnut and almond season arrives in winter with fields harvested by early January. Some garlic harvests happen in early spring, and most broccoli farmers harvest by January as well. The state also has a firm hold on other vegetables like spinach yielding 60% more per acre than those crops grown elsewhere around the country. Lemon farms have also generated more fruit than neighboring states as well.
Known as the second largest producer in the country, Texas grows a wide range of produce, crops, and meat. Cabbage is a popular crop that is available in the Lone Star State in the Spring. About 15% of the total cabbage consumed in America comes from Texas. Carrots mature in the early part of the year making Texas the 5th state in carrot production with over 9,000 acres devoted to the vegetable. Broccoli is another large crop grown in Texas that helps make the country a leading producer of this nutrient-packed vegetable.
Known for its fantastic climate and beauty, Hawaii is the top producer in the country of coffee beans. There are about 800 farms located on the Hawaiian Islands as a whole with the most well-known area being in Kona. Known as the “coffee belt,” Kona has a dedicated area of land where coffee farms stretch for miles. There are a little less than 8,000 acres of coffee planted throughout the state. Coffee production has increased allowing neighboring pineapple and sugarcane farms to change over to coffee crops.
Hawaii is second in the nation for natural fertilizer usage resulting in a coffee harvest lasts year-round. Yet, the primary coffee harvest season runs from late summer through the beginning of spring. Farmers yield about 1,400 pounds of coffee per acre, and many farms are no bigger than 8 acres in total size. The annual yield of Hawaiian coffee runs approximately 7-9 million pounds of coffee beans.
The citrus industry has taken some big hits recently due to the hurricane activity in Florida. Forecasts estimate that orange growers in Florida will produce 79 million boxes this year which is up 76% from last year. Grapefruit farmers will also see an increase in growth with 6.7 million boxes this year compared to 3.88 million last year. Orange citrus fruits like tangerine and mandarin growth are also up by 60%.
Acreage is still down from the citrus boom of the late 90s given the many hurricanes that have destroyed fields. Florida orange harvests run from October through June, with most of the fruit picked from December through May. This means that many Florida farmers have already been harvesting when the rest of the Northern states are still thawing out from winter.
There are plenty of other crops harvested in the late winter season and early spring. Fellow farmers have work in their fields during mild winters to benefit the entire nation. We all work together when it comes to our country’s agriculture, and we are thankful for these states that will produce crops in time for spring.
By: Cat Murphy
Cat Murphy is a gardening and landscaping writer, and outdoor extraordinaire. She enjoys cooking for family and friends and going on long hikes anywhere and everywhere in nature.