Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and a close relative of cauliflower. Broccoli is available year round, but it grows better in cool weather, so it can be in short supply in July and August.
U.S. Broccoli per capita usage:
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
According to the USDA, 115,000 acres of broccoli were harvested in California in 2009 (total U.S. harvest was 124,000 acres).
Ninety percent of the fresh broccoli sold in the U.S. is grown in the Salinas Valley in California.
On Christmas eve or Christmas day 2006 in the Chicago suburb of Villa Park, thieves stole a semi tractor trailer filled with broccoli. It was valued at $50,000.
It was some 2,500 years ago that broccoli was developed on the island of Cyprus.
Broccoli has been grown in America for only about 200 years. The first commercially grown broccoli crop was grown and harvested in New York, then planted in the 1920s in California.
It takes 3 to 3 1/2 cups of broccoli to equal the calcium in one cup of milk.
The Great Broccoli Flap On March 18, 1990 President H.W. Bush had broccoli banned from Air Force One.
A few days later Apio Produce and the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association sent 20,000 pounds of fresh broccoli from California to the White House as a response. Letters from many California broccoli growers accompanied the broccoli. All in an effort to get the president to reconsider his dislike of broccoli and give it another try, and recognize broccoli's high nutritional value. First Lady Barbara Bush received the shipment in a formal ceremony on the White House Lawn (she likes broccoli). The broccoli was then donated to local food banks.
In September, 1990 when Bush arrived on Air Force one for the initial inspection of the brand new never before used 747 version, there was a sign posted in the galley with a bunch of broccoli and a slash through it and a note underneath it saying 'broccoli free zone.'
Bush noted on one occasion that studies about broccoli's disease prevention abilities only gave proof to his insistence that broccoli "tastes like medicine."
Apio Produce followed up 2 years later on March 19, 2002, and sent one box of broccoli as a reminder that the President should reconsider his ban, and suggested a campaign slogan: "Bush and Broccoli - We are both good for America."
Bush was not re-elected - perhaps he should have eaten his broccoli!
This information was contributed by my friend Doug Heyman (formerly at CSPAN) and Marty Flores of Apio, Inc (a produce company in California).