The goals of agricultural production have traditionally been to try to accommodate needs for: 1) adequate and reliable yields to provide a sufficient food supply in a growing world; 2) food safety; 3) taste; 4) convenience; 5) profit; and 6) variety. Alternative strategies to enhance any of these outcomes are typically evaluated as to their probable effects on the key outcome: yield. However, with the burgeoning consumer interest in foods that optimize health, attention is shifting from concerns over quantity alone to concerns over the constituents of foods that may promote health, and thus to the agricultural practices that will protect, and perhaps enhance these constituents of the food supply. This shift in focus requires new thinking and new strategies across all segments of the food production system. This paper summarizes selected aspects of crop production that are pivotal to the nutrient value of foods for human consumption and suggests some strategies for establishing a new research and production paradigm that will embrace nutrient quality among the priorities of agricultural research.