For greater than 50 years, Bryan Jones and his household have been rising potatoes that ultimately find yourself as Frito-Lay potato chips. However lately, Jones, who works for his father at Riverdale Potato Farm in St. Johns County, has begun to diversify. He has experimented with rising carrots and four years in the past launched green beans into the crop rotation. There are presently 100 acres of green beans growing on a farm not too removed from the St. Johns River. He expects them to be prepared to reap directly in time for Thanksgiving.
The Jones family, like many St. Johns County farmers within the sparsely populated space west of Interstate 95, has been compelled to suppose outdoors of the county’s conventional crops like potatoes and cabbage as manufacturing prices enhance and modifications in consumer calls for the shift.
Potatoes nonetheless reign supreme within the space often called the “Potato Capital of Florida,” however there are some new crops on the town able to make an impression on a booming trade. In response to a 2016 research from the University of Florida, agricultural and associated industries in St. Johns County generate $1.43 billion in gross regional product and account for more than 25,000 full- and half-time jobs.
The typical St. Johns County resident additionally doesn’t know what’s being grown right of their yard, Jones stated. Farmers within the space are rising a various group of crops together with spinach, cauliflower, kale, carrots, cantaloupe, watermelon, and sweet corn. Broccoli has to turn out to be some of the various current crops amongst farmers lately. There are additionally massive timber and hay operations within the county.
Bucky Sykes, the proprietor of Sykes Family Farm in Elkton, a farm recognized for its fall crop maze, give up rising potatoes within the early 2000s. At the moment, Sykes and Wells Brothers Farm are a part of a gaggle of farmers who’ve begun harvesting Asian vegetables. There are at the moment around 4,000 acres of Asian greens being grown in St. Johns County which incorporates crops like bok choy, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, and daikon radishes.
Behind a number of the latest agricultural innovation is the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, a necessary, useful resource for those seeking to strive something completely different.