U.S. fresh vegetable and melon production fell in 2011, but the category’s value rose.

About 435 million cwt. of 24 leading vegetable and melon crops were produced last year, 2% less than in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Vegetables annual report, released Jan. 26.

At $11.1 billion, the value of those crops rose 1% from 2010.

Onions, head lettuce and watermelons were the top three category producers in 2011, accounting for 37% of total production. The highest-value crops, in order, were tomatoes, head lettuce and romaine.

U.S. vegetable and melon acreage also was down in 2011, according to the report. About 1.7 million acres were harvested, 1% less than in 2010.

California accounted for almost exactly half of all major vegetable and melon production in 2011, according to USDA. Florida was second with 8.7%, Arizona third with 7.6%, Georgia fourth with 4% and Washington fifth with 3.8%.