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2021 Crop Report released

Strawberries remain king of crops; cut flowers rebound

Workers harvest a Watsonville strawberry field in 2021. —file photo by Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner Juan Hidalgo released the 2021 Santa Cruz County Crop Report on Oct. 5, which shows a 3.4 percent increase in overall crop production values over the past year.

Strawberries remain the top crop in Santa Cruz County, with an estimated value of $211,062,000. This is nearly one third of the county’s overall estimated crop value of $657,370,000. All berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, represent 60 percent of the total gross production value.

Vegetable production was also up, with an overall value of $95,848,000, a 7.1 percent increase from 2020. Nursery stock, including cut flowers and greens, bounced back from the Covid-19 pandemic, with an overall increase of 14 percent in gross value. Favorable weather conditions also made 2021 a good year for wine grapes. High yields led to a gross value increase of 65 percent.

Organic farming saw declines in 2021, with an estimated gross value of $110,310,000, representing an 18.7 percent decline from the previous year. The commissioner’s office explained that organic acreage and value often change from year to year, and that some changes can be attributed to crop rotations and types of commodities grown.

Hidalgo declared in a press release that the report signals the industry beginning “to return to normal” in 2021.

“We would like to thank everyone in the local agricultural community who made this report possible,” Hidalgo said. “Farmers, ranchers, boards, commissions, packinghouses and agencies contributed important data and information.”

Read the full 2021 Santa Cruz County Crop Report at agdept.com.