(Aug. 13) U.S. horticultural exports to Canada are on a record pace this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fresh shipments by U.S. exporters to Canada during the first five months of this year were valued at nearly $750 million, up 7% from last year.

The U.S. is the biggest supplier of fresh produce to Canada, and the USDA reports that fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and tree nuts comprise nearly half the value of all U.S. horticultural exports to Canada. The U.S. share of Canada’s imports of fresh produce and nuts has remained at about 65%, the USDA said.

U.S. fresh fruit shipments to Canada in 2001 — headlined by citrus, grapes and strawberries — totaled $663 million, up 4% from the previous year. Canada is the biggest market for U.S. vegetable exports, and in 2001 shipments accounted for $900 million. That is more than half of total U.S. vegetable exports. Lettuce sales represent one-fifth of the total, the USDA said.