Americans want fresh fruits and vegetables—year-round, not just at harvest time. U.S. farmers grow a lot of produce, but imports are meeting most of the increased demand, especially during off-season months such as April, thus capturing more of the total consumption. Mexico, Central America and South America send the most produce to U.S. regional distribution centers. Some fruits and vegetables have recently become very popular, whereas others remain stable: avocados are way up, persimmons are on the rise and tomatoes are, well, tomatoes.
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN ONLINE For an interactive graphic showing shipments of specific fruits and vegetables, see ScientificAmerican.com/sep2013/graphic-science