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Strawberries still county’s top crop

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY —Strawberries remain the county’s biggest crop, with an estimated value of $220,653,000 on approximately 2,578 planted acres.

That’s according to the 2018 crop report released Thursday by Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner Juan Hidalgo. The report showed an overall production value of more than $683 million, a 17 percent increase from the year before. 

Even as the strawberry crops flourished, farmers were grappling with historically low prices for that crop, which persisted throughout the growing season, Hidalgo said. 

Raspberries kept their spot as the county’s number two crop, with an estimated value of $168,465,000, which was the highest value yet reported in the county, Hidalgo said. 

That trend held true for all berries (strawberries, raspberries and blackberries), which saw an overall increase in gross value of 17 percent, or $63,380,000 compared to 2017 for a total value of $434,331,000. 

Vegetable production also remained strong in Santa Cruz County, with an overall value of $92.4 million, a slight increase over 2017 production. 

Nursery crops increased by 30 percent over the 2017 production value, and cut flowers and cut greens saw a decrease in value of 32 percent.

To see the full report, visit bit.ly/2lqMcmU.

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