California grows a lot of produce.
Like, a lot!
In fact, nearly half of all the fruits and nuts grown in the United States come from right here in California — and that number doesn’t even take into account the huge supply of vegetables, grains and livestock that also come out of the state!
Here are some of the most popular kinds of produce grown in California and, of course, where you’re likely to see them on the side of the road!
Produce grown in Southern California
Fruits grown in California
Annual production value: $5.23 billion
California is the fourth largest producer of wine in the world, so it makes perfect sense that grapes account for a huge percentage of fruits grown here in the state.
Wine grapes are grown in four regions across the state: the Central Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, the North Coast and the South Coast. Each region is known for a different kind of wine, since the climates vary enough to make the grapes grow at different speeds, with different nutrients and with different flavor profiles.
Annual production value: $3.02 billion
Looking to go strawberry picking? You’re in luck!
Orange County is one of the state’s largest producers of strawberries, alongside Oxnard and Santa Maria here in the south and Salinas and Watsonville up north.
Oranges and citrus
Annual production value: $3.3 billion
SoCal is orange central for the West Coast, with over 300 boxes of oranges harvested per acre and a whopping 270,000 acres grown over the state. That’s about 81 million boxes of oranges each year, for whoever’s counting.
The state overtook Florida in citrus production in 2017 and now accounts for around 54% of the nation’s citrus production industry.
Nuts grown in California
Annual production value: $5.03 billion
Almonds make up the largest tree nut crop in the state of California, accounting for over 450,000 acres of farmland primarily in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. The state is also the only state in the United States that grows and exports almonds, and the nut ranks 7th out of the largest food exports in the nation!
Annual production value: $1.02 billion
Did you know that some walnuts are endemic to California?
Yes! The two varieties of walnuts, Juglans californica and Juglans hindsii, are native to Southern and Northern California, respectively, and can be found nowhere else.
The most cultivated walnut, though, is an Old World species called the English Walnut, which is grown in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys. These walnuts account for nearly 100% of all the walnuts grown and exported in the United States (99%, to be exact!) and nearly 75% of all the walnuts traded around the world!
Annual production value: $2.91 billion
It seems as though California is the nuttiest state of them all, since over 98% of all the pistachios produced in the United States also come from farms right here in the Golden State. The industry here is so prominent, in fact, that the United States (as in, California) became the second-largest pistachio producer in the world after the nut’s native country, Iran.
Vegetables grown in California
Annual production value: $2.03 billion
The five leading lettuce production counties in California are Monterey, Imperial, Santa Barbara, San Benito and Fresno Counties, with around 70% of all lettuce production attributed to Monterey and Imperial Counties.
Annual production value: $1.18 billion
California produces around 11 million tons of tomatoes each year, and Fresno county consistently produces the largest harvest of all tomato-producing counties in the state. In 2020 alone, over 3.6 million tons of the vegetable came from Fresno county alone!
Annual production value: $911.85 million
Nearly all of the major carrot production counties are in Southern California, especially around Los Angeles, Kern and Monterey Counties. Though there are some farms that produce carrots for processing (as in, for use as canned carrots, carrot juice, carrot products etc.), the majority of carrots grown in the state end up going straight to store shelves and markets.
Grains grown in California
Annual production value: $1.69 billion
Alfalfa, which is grown for livestock feed, is the 11th largest crop in California and helps sustain the state’s massive dairy industry, which itself is the state’s largest commodity.
Hay, who knew?
Annual production value: $1 billion
The Sacramento Valley is home to the majority of rice farms in the state, where the clay-heavy soil, cool nights and hot days make for perfect rice-growing conditions. The Valley’s crop production makes California the second-largest producer of rice in the country behind Arkansas, of all places! Around 80% of the state’s rice is consumed within the nation — the rest is shipped off around the world.
So, if you live in or near our Southern California apartments, then you have access to the nation’s largest supply of fresh produce within minutes of your home! Next time you’re at the store or at the farmers’ market, then keep an eye out for produce grown near you!
Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/12019