To hear food pundits talk you'd think that growers of fruits and veggies don't receive subsidies from the government. Indeed, the pundits often argue vegetables should receive subsidies because they don't receive them now. Just to give one example, here is Mark Bittman writing in the New York Times:
Simply put: taxes would reduce consumption of unhealthful foods and generate billions of dollars annually. That money could be used to subsidize the purchase of staple foods like seasonal greens, vegetables, whole grains, dried legumes and fruit.
It might come as a surprise, then, to hear that many fruits and vegetable growers already receive (implicit and explicit) subsidies of one form or another. Here is an issue, for example, that came to light during the fiscal cliff debate:
Many folks have picked out the extension of "market loss assistance" for asparagus farmers, for example, but this dates back to the farm bill from the last year of the Bush administration. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) brags about it on her website and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) was talking about fighting for it back in 2007, so I think we can gather than a lot of asparagus is grown in Washington State.
This is said to be needed because American asparagus farmers have been "devastated" by cheap imported Peruvian asparagus.
The reality of farm and food policy and its impacts is much more complicated than is often made to appear in foodie books and blogs.