When the average Ohio gardener thinks of California, it has little to do with agriculture. More likely, there are thoughts of Hollywood, TV entertainment and many high tech businesses — and of course a beautiful state adjacent to the Pacific Ocean.
But the truth is agriculture is the biggest business — and it continues to grow each year. Last year, the state’s agricultural crops had a value of $44 billion.
To be grouped with the top 10 crops, the crop had to have a value of at least $1 billion for the year! Included among the big 10 are strawberries, lettuce and tomatoes. Yes, agriculture is a big time source of income to the state. These totals were a surprise to me until I talked with a friend who works for a large seed company in southern California. He formerly did research in agriculture in Ohio and was offered a much better job in California.
A primary reason for agricultural production and growth in southern California is that it is the only region of the US with a Mediterranean climate. It has mild weather throughout the year, which is ideal for agriculture.
It is also ideal for seed companies in that several generations of plants can be grown outdoors throughout the year. His work includes tomato breeding and I always remember that the most popular tomato nationwide originated in California. Of course, it is Celebrity, which is planted in my Ohio garden every summer.
The state has more than 80,000 farms and ranches along with thousands of farmers. Many folks are surprised to find farmers in the state. The state also has a large…