Jul 26, 2021
Specialty crops supported during Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Week

Iowa’s commercial horticulture industry contributes $48 million to the state’s economy each year, providing fresh produce to Iowa consumers. Gov. Kim Reynolds recognized the value of Iowa horticulture by designating July 26-30, 2021, as Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Week.

The Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (IFVGA) represents producers statewide, supporting grower education and consumer outreach. Vice President Marcus Johnson owns and operates Buffalo Ridge Orchard near Central City.

“We like being a part of the community and growing food for the community that we live in,” said Johnson. “Part of building community is reaching out and letting people know that growers are producing food they can buy at farmers markets and food stores. We want to get that word out, and Fruit and Vegetable Week is a great way to do that.”

IFVGA board members Joanne Roepke Bode and Beany Bode are co-owners/operators of Bode’s Moonlight Gardens, where they raise 2 acres of fresh vegetables and offer a u-pick pumpkin patch.

“We love helping people access fresh, healthy food, and this time of year there are many great options to choose from,” said Joanne Roepke Bode. “One of my favorite things is sharing recipes and cooking ideas, and hearing from people about the delicious meals they created with the food we grow. When you start with seasonal food, picked at its peak, it’s difficult to go wrong.”

The governor’s proclamation included the request that “local Iowa fruit and vegetable producers receive support and recognition for their achievements by celebrating this week across Iowa.”

The most recent statewide survey of commercial horticulture production in Iowa was released in 2017. The survey showed that the top five crops in 2015 were tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, green beans and winter squash. More than 1,000 farms statewide grow vegetables and an equal number grow fruits (2017 U.S. ag census).

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