Being tropical plants, eggplants are very sensitive to cold weather, even more so than their cousin, the tomato. For this reason, eggplants are typically grown as annuals. Eggplants are widely grown across the United States. However, there are less than 7,000 acres dedicated to the fruit's production each year in places like California, Florida, and Georgia.
While yields vary depending on temperature and growing conditions (via New Jersey Department of Agriculture), producers average about 28,000 pounds of eggplants per acre — generating an average gross income of more than $17,000 per acre and providing more than enough to support the 1 pound of eggplant each U.S. citizens consumes on average every year, according to 2016 data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Top eggplant grower
New Jersey's reputation for its vast farmland can be legitimized in the state's production of eggplants alone. According to the Daily Record, New Jersey is responsible for providing 66% of the world's eggplants, making it the top producer of eggplants in the world. Harvesting 849 acres each year, New Jersey stands ahead of other leading producers like California, Florida, and Georgia (via the New Jersey Department of Agriculture).