Oct 23, 2012
Welcome to Fresh FareBy Jasmina Dolce

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the trend toward homegrown edibles rise among consumers. That trend only continues to grow, and growers are reacting. More and more growers are adding edibles to their lineup. So in the October issue of GPN, we included a special focus on edibles: “Fresh Fare.” In this issue, contributors across the industry discuss how growers can go about expanding their vegetable offering, current consumer research among home gardeners, and choosing which varieties to add to an edibles lineup.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read the October edition of GPN, here are some highlights:

Beyond Tomatoes: How to Expand Your Vegetable Offering – With the increased consumer interest in vegetable gardening, many growers have found that adding top-selling vegetable classes like tomatoes and peppers to their ornamentals assortment is a relatively low-risk way to boost sales. But why stop there? All indications are that the interest in fresh, home or locally grown produce will continue to grow.

Four ways to branch out are: 1) pushing early sales and extending end of season sales, 2) offering choices like red lettuce, Swiss chard, and arugula as leafy greens offer several advantages over other classes, 3) offering multiple varieties in options beyond single variety six-packs and 4-inch pots, and 4) adding herbs to the mix. Full article

Health Trends Toward Homegrown Edibles – The rising interest in health and wellness is positioned to feed gardeners’ bodies with nutrition – and your greenhouse with further opportunity. Ball Horticultural Co. recently completed research on the motivations behind gardening, which uncovered the main drivers for why gardeners start a vegetable garden.

While most began because “homegrown produce tastes better than what can be bought at the store,” other gardeners started veggie gardening because they believed them to be “more nutritious” and that they felt “more secure” knowing they’ve grown them themselves. Today’s consumer is on-the-go and not always making healthy diet choices. But as we lead more sedentary lives, we’ve created a rising concern for health, obesity and nutrition. Full article

Choosing Vegetables to Include in Your Edibles Program – With all the edibles varieties on the market, how can you possibly have confidence that you’ve chosen the right ones for your edibles program? The ones that will actually perform for the home gardener and have them running for the store?

The All-America Selections story with more than 700 winners not only provides enough variety but an excellent testimonial you can share with your customers. Today’s consumers are much more discriminating and need a good reason to sort through the many choices presented at retail. In fact, you too probably need some assistance in wading through the many new and older varieties presented by your suppliers. Full article

Are you growing edibles? Have you expanded your edibles production? Tell me your story, I’d love to hear from you. You can shoot me an e-mail at [email protected]

– Jasmina

P.S. Do you know any outstanding students that have completed a memorable internship? If so, tell them about the GPN/Nexus Intern of the Year scholarship! We’ve extended our deadline to this Friday, Oct. 26. For information on how to apply, click here.

Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at [email protected]

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