What grows in the rich soils of Monterey County

Note:  This is a follow-up to my earlier post, Monterey, Melons and more (that Monterey County is the only county in the United States with more than $1 BILLION annually in vegetable sales).

Sunset Seaside Monterey County California rd

Seaside Sunset in Monterey County, Central Coast of California – photo LolaKo.com

The coast, the beautiful landscape, the Monterey Jazz Festival, John Steinbeck country, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and Fisherman’s wharf, Pebble Beach (among the top Golf destinations in the world) and the spectacular Big Sur Coast are among what makes the Monterey County area well-known worldwide as a tourism spot.

Big_Sur Wiki Photo by Calilover

Big Sur Coast, Monterey County, California photo via wiki commons by Calilover

Steinbeck Mural Salinas California

John Steinbeck mural, downtown old Salinas — Steinbeck was a native of Monterey County Photo: Lolako.com

From an economic standpoint though — tourism dollars aside — the Monterey County agricultural industry is what amazes me.

basket of heriloom tomatoesI wanted to know more.  What exactly do we grow here that produce such high dollar values?

The  website for the Monterey County Office of the Agricultural Commissioner and their Annual Crop Report provided exactly the information I was interested to know.

Here are the most recent numbers…

  • Leaf lettuce is in the number one spot with a value of $777.4 million
  • Strawberries accounted for  $713.9 million
  • Head lettuce was at $454.2 million
  • Broccoli at $297.3 million
  • Nursery production at $260.7 million

So there it is…lettuce is the top crop.

Makes sense…the weather is so mild here, and lettuce can be grown and harvested in such a short time!

Plus, companies in this region of California are pioneers in lettuce production and sales, having originated the ready to go salad — washed, bagged and ready to eat lettuce we now are accustomed to buying at the grocery store.

Nursery Field of Begonia Monterey County rd

Begonias growing in sandy, well draining fields of Marina, Monterey County, California – Photo LolaKo.com

What was also interesting, is that the 4th largest agriculture commodity in Monterey County is nursery production.

I knew about the orchid growing facilities here, but there are also many more types of flowers grown here!  From the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner website on nursery production…

…The local climate creates ideal conditions for raising a large variety of nursery stock including bedding and potted plants, cut flowers, poinsettias, vegetable transplants, woody ornamentals, propagative materials, turf and orchids.

Monterey County field of Yarrow flowers

Yarrow field — flowers growing in Monterey County, California – Photo LolaKo.com

It turns out, along with lots of spring greens, lettuce greens and heads of lettuce, Monterey County grows a lot of flowers like gerbera daisies, Asiatic lily, carnation, tulips and roses.

And so…Monterey County’s total crop values in the year 2011? A whopping  $3,853,004,200.  Again, Wow!

Here are related links:

body_2006_Oliver_hand-laborWebsite for the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner and Latest Monterey County Crop Report — living and working in Steinbeck Country (the 2012 report should be out soon)

nursery begonia field marina californiaBlog Begonias in the Mist – “We’re planting begonia seeds again.   We’ll drop over 2 million little begonia seeds and hope for the best….”

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Monterey County field of Lavenders

 

Creekside Farms in south Monterey County – grows flowers and makes gorgeous fresh and dried wreaths (see LolaKo post here, for more on Creekside Farms.

 

Lavender-Fields-creekside farms

Lavender Fields at Creekside Farms. Photo LolaKo.com

From USA Today, 25 years of “eureka” moments – #10 is Lettuce in a bag…

…Americans discovered there’s more to salad than iceberg lettuce drowning in bottled dressing after the rollout of mixed lettuce greens in a bag.  Fresh Express in Salinas, Calif., made that possible by inventing a high-tech plastic bag introduced nationwide in 1989. That helped ignite a whole consumer category of portion-controlled foods, such as bagged baby carrots.

Fresh Express productFeatureSalinas, Monterey County, California based Fresh Express Company Fresh Express created the very first ready-to-eat packaged Garden Salad available in grocery stores nationwide in 1989.