Strawberries Hold Spot as Top Crop
June 15, 2011
Agricultural sales topped $4 billion in Monterey County for the second consecutive year even after declining 1 percent in 2010, according to the annual crop report released by the Agricultural Commissioner on Tuesday.
Strawberries were the highest value crop, with more than $750 million in sales. Agricultural Commissioner Eric Lauritzen says the region still holds its titular "salad bowl of the world status," since leaf lettuce, head lettuce and spring mix combined generated more than $1 billion in sales.
Exports were also up by 14 percent, will a half billion pounds of produce leaving Monterey County for Canada, Taiwan, Mexico and other destinations.
Meanwhile, the value of agricultural land could also be climbing again. The highest recorded property sale in the county last month was a $16.2 million transaction on 793 acres between Chualar and Gonzalez. The property last sold in 2002 for $12 million. "It's nice to see something going up in value," County Assessor Steve Vagnini says. The land was purchased by Amaral Ranches, which had already been farming the site.
The crop report presents a few notable declines. Wine grapes hit their lowest value in six years, accounting for weather and low market prices, and nursery crops were down 10 percent compared to 2009.
The complete crop report, and reports going back to 1930, are available at http://ag.co.monterey.ca.us.