Production and harvesting systems for processing vegetables have been highly mechanized, however, field efficiencies are generally low, and high field losses and fruit damage continue to limit profits for several crops. By comparison, the number of fresh market crops currently machine harvested is small, and research to develop new harvesting technology for these crops is limited. Current mechanization research includes improvements to existing production systems, development of harvesters for crops currently hand-harvested, and the integration of new technologies into current (and future) production systems. Mechanical harvester-based production systems are evolving that reduce field losses and fruit damage, improve recovery, and decrease the foreign materials in the harvested product. However, improved cultural production systems and crop varieties that are adapted for once-over machine harvest are needed. An integrated approach in which crop characteristics along with planting, cultivating, and harvesting techniques are considered will be necessary to develop profitable and highly efficient alternatives to hand-harvest production. The integration of new technologies including differential global positioning systems (DGPS), automatic machine guidance, and computer-based vision systems offers significant performance benefits, and is a substantial component of current vegetable production and harvesting research in the U.S. In time, as the costs of these technologies decline, commercial adoption of these new methods is expected to increase.