Specialty Crops

From Ohio History Central


During the 1850s, the United States Patent Office encouraged the introduction of sorghum to the United States. In Ohio use of sorghum began as a poor substitute for sugar and molasses. It was not until the 1880s that people began to think better of sorghum. In 1992, 44 farms in Ohio grew 104,354 bushels of Sorghum on 1,981 acres. The top three counties were:

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County Acres Bushels
Columbiana 75 6,300
Mahoning 410 16,029
Mercer 65 2,805

Emmer & Spelt

Emmer and spelt are varieties of wheat. Emmer is the kind of wheat that people in Asia Minor used it to bake their first bread, thousands of years ago.

In 1992, 308 Ohio farms grew 261,830 bushels of emmer and spelt on 3,674 acres. The leading five counties were:

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County Acres Bushels
Columbiana 251 22,540
Geauga 236 19,790
Holmes 321 21,381
Lorain 343 17,886
Stark 219 18,255


"Canola", a registered trade name, consists of two varieties of rapeseed, a plant in the mustard family. Of the vegetable oils used the most in cooking, Canola has the lowest amount of saturated fatty acids. Because of this, it became a very important part of eating healthy in the late 1900s. In 1992, 46 farms produced more than 1 million pounds of Canola, using 1,480 acres. The top three counties were:

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County Acres Pounds
Columbiana 90 57,950
Huron 97 68,148
Seneca 185 212,250


Originally, corn came from wild plants that were native to the Americas. Native American Indians began to plant and use wild corn before the arrival of the first people from the Old World. Popcorn is one the oldest of the varieties of corn to survive.

In 1992, 385 farms produced more than 100,000,000 pounds of popcorn on nearly 29,000 acres of land in Ohio. The following five counties were leaders in this farm product:

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County Acres Pounds Shelled
Erie 3,284 11,941,570
Hardin 1,935 8,582,936
Putnam 1,848 6,369,831
Van Wert 8,084 30,362,667
Wood 2,310 8,403,298

Nursery & Greenhouse Crops

Nurseries in Ohio date from the earliest days of permanent settlement. In the late 1820s, the community of Zoar in Tuscarawas County built one of the earliest, and one of the finest greenhouses in Ohio. In 1992, 2032 farms in Ohio were involved in Nursery & Greenhouse Crops, with nearly 39 million square feet of growing space being under glass or other protection, and more than 22,000 acres in the open. In terms of sales, the seven leading counties, which include some of Ohio's most densely populated urban areas, were:

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County Revenue
Clark $13,757,000
Cuyahoga $15,222,000
Franklin $18,945,000
Hamilton $9,579,000
Lake $47,811,000
Lorain $38,526,000
Lucas $16,377,000


In 1992, 1099 Ohio farms were busy in floriculture, the growing of bedding, foliage, potted flowering plants, and cut flowers. They had nearly 29 million square feet of growing area under glass or other protection, and used approximately 500 acres in the open. In sales, the leading seven counties were:

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County Revenue
Columbiana $6,004,000
Cuyahoga $12,731,000
Franklin $13,023,000
Hamilton $7,886,000
Lake $5,670,000
Lorain $28,602,000
Lucas $15,468,000

See Also