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Welcome to the Fruit and Vegetable

Growers Association of Delaware Website

Packing cabbage at Papen Farms

Welcome to the website of the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware. Our organization represents produce growers across the state of Delaware.

What is the FVGAD?

The Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware (formerly Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware) is a non-profit organization working to promote and encourage improvement in the production and marketing of all phases of the fruit and vegetable industry in the state of Delaware. This is accomplished through the Annual Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association Meeting and programs promoting Delaware’s fruit and vegetable industry.  The FVGAD also promotes the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables as a part of a healthy diet and supports nutrition programs aimed at providing increased access to fruits and vegetables to children.  We seek to educate about the broad health benefits of fruits and vegetables.

Who is the FVGAD?

FVGAD membership consists of over 100 local fruit and vegetable growers, their families and employees, crop consultants, industry personnel, produce buyers, processors, suppliers, university and extension staff and friends.

Harvesting sweet corn for processing.

DE Fruit and Vegetable Acres and Value

Delaware fruit and vegetable acreage varies each year but ranges from 45,000 to 55,000 acres.  Approximately 1/3 of the acreage goes to the fresh market and 2/3 of the acreage is processed by freezing, canning, or pickling. 

Vegetables add significant value to Delaware’s agricultural economy: $50 to $55 million to vegetable farmers, about ¼ of all crop income in the state.  This is multiplied to even greater value with processing or packing.

Processing Vegetable Industry

Our processing vegetable industry is the largest in the Mid-atlantic.  Delaware has 28,000-45,000 acres compared to Maryland (18,000 acres), New Jersey  (8,300 acres), Virgina (2,400 acres), and Pennsylvania (11,000 acres).
 

There are several processing plants located in Delaware and nearby states that freeze and can peas, lima beans, snap beans, and sweet corn including Hanover, Seabrook, Pictsweet, Friels, and J G Townsend Companies.  Many of these brands can be found in the freezer case or vegetable isle at your local supermarket.  Currently large amounts of pickling cucumbers and smaller amounts of peppers from Delaware growers go to B&G and Vlasic brands. Vlasic purchases our pickles to processed in North Carolina, Michigan, and other locations. B&G takes Delaware pickles to their processing plant just over the state line in Maryland. Smaller acreages of other vegetables and fruits from Delaware are also processed including spinach, greens, southern peas, and apples. Lima beans are the most important processing crop.  More acreage of lima beans are grown in Delaware than any other place in the world.  There is an average of 12,000 of acres a year but it can get up to 25,000 acres in any given year.

Fresh Market Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetables and fruits grown for the fresh market include watermelons, cantaloupes, sweet corn, cabbage, green beans, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins, peaches, apples, and strawberries.  Delaware is a major watermelon producing region and there are 3000 acres in the state.  Sweet corn for fresh corn on the cob is grown on over 3500 acres.  A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are grown for direct sales to the public at farm stands, roadside markets, pick-your-own operations and farmers markets throughout the state.  Farmers of all sizes from market gardeners to large orchards sell fresh fruits and vegetables directly to the public through these venues.  Other produce from Delaware farms are featured at restaurants, in school cafeterias, and in specialty markets throughout the state. 

 

Sweet corn display at Filasky’s farm market near Middletown, one of our long time members.

Members of the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association of Delaware are very diverse – from market gardeners selling at nearby farmers markets to grower-shippers who supply supermarkets throughout the east; from farms offering Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions to nearby families to processing vegetable growers providing regional freezing and canning plants with tons of raw product that will be sold throughout the country.

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