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Abstract

The Northeast region with nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population and purchasing power in I 983 is a deficit regioa in both processing and fresh market vegetable crops. This study explores the underlying factors in the long post-World War II decline in Northeastern vegetable production. It evaluates the economic viability of small-scale, family operated vegetable farms with emphasis on Maryland and the Baltimore-Washington Wholesale Market outlet near Jessup, Maryland. Preliminary results of our study indicate that, under certain conditions, small-scale fami ly farms can grow and commercially market fresh-market vegetables at competitive prices, and generate healthy cash flows. The optimum mix of crops would include up to three, non-competing crop sequences, with four different vegetable crops including spinach, snap beans, tomatoes and broccoli. Family (owner-operator) labor was found to be a major resource constraint on volume of vegetables marketed, especially tomatoes. Potentials for future expansion in selected crops seem to exist with improved technology and better management.

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