Welcome to WorldCrops
The demographics of the United States have changed rapidly as immigrant populations have increased at rates not seen since the early 20th century. In 2005, eight million immigrants came to the United States, the largest number in a single year of our history. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Hispanic population was 38 million in 2003 and expected to jump to 49 million by 2015. The Asian population was estimated at 12 million in 2003 and expected to grow to over 17 million by 2015.
This dramatic increase in immigrant populations has had a significant effect on the U.S. marketplace, including the demand for fresh produce. Hispanics and Asian-Americans now account for approximately 25% of all sales of fresh fruits and vegetables in supermarkets in the US.
These immigrant groups want to be able to buy fresh produce that is part of their cuisine and readily available in their countries of origin. This has brought with it opportunities for farmers in the Northeast to grow the crops desired by these expanding markets. The overwhelming majority of vegetables and herbs popular in the countries of origin of recent immigrants can be grown in the Northeastern U.S. For example, more than 70% of the 25,000 acres of vegetables grown in Massachusetts are with crops that have their center of origin in the tropics, such as sweet corn (Zea mays), pumpkins and squash (Cucurbita spp.), and peppers (Capsicum spp.). There are very few vegetable species that cannot be grown in the Northeastern U.S.
This web site provides information on vegetables and herbs that can be grown in the Northeastern United States. The emphasis is on crops that are popular among ethnic groups living in this region and can be grown in this region.
This site is organized according to the countries in the world. One reason for this organizational structure is that many ethnic groups are concentrated in one area or neighborhood. For example, in Holyoke Massachusetts, the majority of the customers at farmers’ markets are Puerto Rican. In this case, a grower who sells at this market would want to check out the crops under "Puerto Rico".
Click here to see a video describing the UMass Ethnic Crops program.