Fresh-market U.S. vegetable and melon production fell in 2009, but the overall crop value rose slightly.

About 443 million cwt. of 24 leading fresh-market vegetable and melon crops were produced last year, about 1% fewer than in 2008, according to Vegetables 2009 Summary, a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

But the value of those crops was about $10.4 billion, up slightly from $10.37 billion in 2008.

The crops surveyed included all major vegetables except potatoes and sweet potatoes.

About 1.79 million acres of vegetables (excluding potatoes) and melons were planted in 2009, about the same as the year before. About 1.71 million acres were harvested, slightly less than the year before.

About half of the vegetable and melon production in 2009 came from California. Florida accounted for just over 9%, Arizona 7%, Georgia 5% and Washington less than 4%.

In terms of production, onions, head lettuce and watermelon were the three biggest crops covered in the report in 2009.

Tomatoes, head lettuce and onions were the three most valuable crops last year.