In October, 2014, I wrote a post about the field trip my dad and I took to the strawberry fields of Pajaro Valley, located in Santa Cruz, California – one of the most concentrated, richest farming areas in the world. Our diets wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as they are without California’s amazing array of specialty crops.
Santa Cruz County’s ag industry is valued at $616 million, according to the 2014 Crop Report. Here are its top earning commodities:
Value in Millions of $$$
Crop 2013 2014
- Strawberries $201.8 $228.1
- Raspberries 152.2 131.3
- Nursery Stock 74.1 77.3
- Cut flowers and greens 17.8 42.3
- Vegetables 41.8 41.4
- Blackberries 33.9 35.0
- Lettuce 17.7 19.3
- Brussel Sprouts 14.5 11.3
- Apples 11.9 10.9
- Livestock 6.9 7.3
The one thing Pajaro Valley farmers worry about it the drought – they’ve suffered the same water shortage which has crippled the rest of the Golden State. Though the 4 year dry spell has hit harder elsewhere, the Pajaro Valley depends on groundwater that is in short supply. Underground aquifers here have been pumped in excess of rainfall recharge.
When we hear about California’s drought, we frequently think it has nothing to do with us – but really, we all depend on California’s fruits and vegetables for our diets!
Interestingly, agriculture remains the top industry in Santa Cruz, surpassing even tourism. When one thinks of Santa Cruz, it is of surfers, hippies, redwood trees and the Boardwalk… we can also include berries and flowers in that!
The 2014 Crop Report is available at http://www.agdept.com