Vegetable growers are people who are involved in the cultivation of vegetables, usually with the intent to sell the vegetables, either directly to consumers or to wholesalers who sell their stock to grocery stores and restaurants. The size of a vegetable growing operation can vary from a small family farm to an industrial agriculture facility which may produce a very high volume of produce daily. As with other careers in agriculture, vegetable growing can be physically demanding as well as stressful, because agriculture is highly dependent on factors outside the grower's control.
One important task performed by a vegetable grower is determining what to grow. Vegetable growers have to think about which vegetables are suitable for their climate while also considering the demands of the market. They must attempt to predict what will sell well, whether they are growing vegetables with a steady demand like potatoes, or trying a more experimental crop which may or may not do well. Vegetable growers also think about their buyers and may discuss what they plan to grow with their buyers to ensure that there will be a market for everything produced.
Growers also must consider their farming practices. Organic and biodynamic vegetable growers utilize specialized growing practices and usually appeal to a niche market with their products, while conventional growers use more generalized farming practices. A grower might consider the best market for her or his products. For example, someone growing heirloom tomatoes might opt for organic farming practices because consumers interested in heirloom vegetables often want organically grown produce. Conversely, someone growing iceberg lettuce for a chain restaurant might view conventional agriculture as more economical.
Vegetable growers can also be involved in the hybridization of crops, developing new cultivars which may appeal to a specific sector of the market, resist pests, and so forth. Some vegetable growers work on experimental farms which focus on developing and testing new vegetables so that they can be perfected before they are released to other farmers. This type of work can be fun for people who are interested in genetics and science, while people who like the idea of farming and connecting with the public might prefer working on family farms.
Typically, vegetable growers also supervise a staff which includes all of the field hands, and they are also in charge of handling equipment and supplies, making decisions about irrigation, and so forth. Many vegetable growers are members of cooperatives or collectives which allow farmers to pool resources and experience so that they can make the best choices for their farms. Cooperatives also allow collective access to resources which might be too expensive for a farmer working alone, such as grain silos.