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Ventura County Agriculture Thrives & Raspberries Grow in Popularity

Raspberries have made a very rapid rise to prominence in Ventura County, and are an example of some innovative growers willing to experiment.

Raspberries keep climbing Ventura County’s list of leading crops, supplanting tomatoes at the No. 5 spot in the 2008 crop report. Raspberries first appeared on the list of top crops in 2002, coming in at No. 10 with a value of $19.9 million. Since then, the fruit has risen 326 percent in value as growers have devoted more space to the crop — from 268 acres in 2002 to 2,370 acres in 2008.

Raspberries were valued at $5,561 per ton last year, compared with strawberries at $1,343 per ton.

Ventura County, CA top ten crops were:

  • nursery stock, $298.7 million
  • lemons, $250.7 million
  • celery, $160.7 million
  • Raspberries $84.5 million
  • tomatoes, $77.5 million
  • avocados, $63.4 million
  • cut flowers, $51.3 million
  • peppers, $30.8 million
  • Valencia oranges, $18.2 million

Overall, the gross value of the county’s agriculture industry reached an all-time high of $1.6 billion last year, a 4 percent increase over 2007, Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales said. The latest available data from 2007 show the county ranks as the ninth largest agriculture producer in California based on crop value.

The economic impact affected potted plants with a fall in value from $14 million in 2007 to $9.6 million in 2008, based on changes in housing and commercial real estate demand.

The amount of acreage devoted to agriculture in Ventura county has remained relatively steady over the past decade, even as crop values have risen.

The weather was “pretty good” in 2008, and the county is producing crops that are more resilient than crops coming out of the Midwest,

RESOURCE: Ventura County Star