Compared with a year earlier, fall season area for harvest of 11 selected fresh-market vegetables in the U.S. is expected to rise by 5 percent this year, to 153,450 acres, according to the latest USDA Vegetable and Melons Outlook.

Regional shipments from late summer/early fall crops began to wind down in mid-October, with ample volume keeping downward pressure on grower prices for most fresh-market vegetables.

As shipping seasons came to a close in states such as Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the supply focus shifted to states such as California, Florida, Georgia, Texas and New Jersey.

Although grower prices going into the fall were generally low-to-average at best this year, most planting decisions were made months in advance, with current market conditions holding limited sway over area for the coming season.

The size of the increase in fall acreage (primarily October-December) may be a bit misleading as the majority of the gain in area this fall was concentrated in a projected 30 percent surge in carrot acreage. Without the expected 5,000-acre gain in California carrots, the rise in fall fresh vegetable area would have been a more modest 2 percent.

Fall fresh-market vegetable acreage in California (up 6 percent), Florida (up 2 percent), and Georgia (up 3 percent) increased from a year earlier. Most of the gain in Florida was concentrated in cabbage and sweet corn, which both experienced above average prices this past summer.

Area in California, which accounts for about two-thirds of fall vegetable acreage, is expected to rise 6 percent from a year earlier. Lower area is expected for tomatoes and head lettuce but this will be more than offset by stronger area for most other vegetables including carrots, broccoli, sweet corn, celery and cauliflower.