An historic thrust at SVAEC has been to demonstrate the intensive field production of specialty vegetable crops both in the field and under protected culture such as greenhouses. Small and mid-sized farmers are always seeking new ways to diversify their operations. Evaluating and introducing new crops/enterprises to the area is important. Alternative vegetable crops/enterprises efforts have included; lettuces and leafy greens, snap beans, southern peas, seedless and seeded watermelon, sweet onions, sweet potato, okra, carrots, pickling cucumber, oriental vegetables, cantaloupe and other melons, herbs, cut flowers, specialty tomatoes, and specialty peppers.
Organic vegetable production is an area of increased efforts. Current programs have been oriented to evaluating sustainable production systems, animal wastes as nutrient sources, biological pesticide tests, integrated pest management studies in both field and greenhouse culture. Another research emphasis has been in the areas of cover crops and crop rotations using sunn hemp, buckwheat, rye, triticale, beans, and other crops to fit the seasonal needs of organic farmers. The SVAEC maintains a dedicated four-acre area for organic research and will maintain ongoing organic certification. There is new interest in the region from large acreage organic producers for carrot, onion, leeks and other root crops.