Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner Harry S. Gonzales gave a Ventura County Crop and Livestock Report to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 30th, in Ventura. According to the summary available on the County of Ventura website, 2012 was a record year in terms of harvested production, with a total value of $1,963,798,000. The report indicated a 1.6% increase over 2011, although based on 2011 production of $1,844,260,000, it looks to be an even greater 6.5% increase.
No surprise that once again in 2012, strawberries are by far the largest crop produced in Ventura County. There was nearly $691 million worth of hand-plucked strawberries in 2012, up from $625.5 million in 2011. According to the California Strawberry Commission, roughly 30% of California's strawberries are grown in Oxnard, 85% of U.S. strawberries are produced in California and 25% of the world's strawberries are produced in the U.S. That would infer that roughly 6% of global strawberry production takes place right here in Ventura County!
Strawberries represented 35% of total agricultural production in Ventura County last year, compared to 34% in 2011, 24% in 2006 and 26% back in 2002, largely due to the doubling of strawberry production since 2006. At the same time, other crops have grown at more moderate rates or have even decreased in value. For example, nursery stock, #4 on the 2012 list with $186 million, was #2 on the 2006 list with a value of $264 million. Start working on those gardens, everyone!
Lemons, raspberries and nursery stock battled it out for the next three spots on the 2012 list but lemons, with 15% year over year growth, handily finsihed 2nd. Nursery stock grew by a solid 14% last year but raspberries, with only 1% growth, barely held on to 3rd place. Two things should be noted regarding raspberries. Ventura County raspberry production has grown by over 800% since 2002; and...I had to look up how to spell raspberry...why is there a "p" in there? Beats me.
My final observation is that cilantro made the top 10 list in Ventura County for what may be the first time ever, knocking out "greens," which was 10th on last year's list. I'm not a big cilantro fan but somebody must enjoy it!
To learn more about agricultural production and sorts of other great stuff about Ventura County, visit www.ventura.org. For local farmers' markets and other farm fresh produce in and around Ventura County click THIS LINK.