Fresh cucumbers are the seventh most consumed fresh vegetable, just after bell peppers in popularity in the US. The U.S. is a major importer of cucumbers with approximately 84% of fresh cucumber availability originating outside the U.S. during 2016-2020. Imports from Mexico and Canada are the primary sources of cucumber availability in the U.S. with Mexico providing the U.S. 65% and Canada providing 14% of all U.S. fresh cucumbers between 2016 and 2020.
Fresh vegetable imports have been rising over the past several decades. Much of this increase in fresh vegetable imports results from reductions in financial barriers to trade (lower tariffs and lower
shipping costs) as well as consumer preferences for year-round as opposed to seasonal availability of fresh vegetables. Imports of cucumbers have grown from approximately 35 percent of availability in the U.S. in 1990-1994 to about 85 percent in 2016-2020. The USDA attributes this dramatic increase in cucumber imports to year-round demand and consumer preferences for cucumbers grown in greenhouses. Only a small portion of U.S. domestic cucumber production is under protection, whereas protected agriculture production practices are much more common in Mexico (Davis and Lucier, 2021b). Further, domestic cucumber production area under protection increased dramatically from 2009 to 2014, but then decreased sharply from 2014 to 2019.
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