Santa Cruz County Flower Crops Saw Value Increase In 2010

WATSONVILLE – Santa Cruz County growers broke the $500 million mark for crop value in 2010 with strawberries leading the way.

The top crop for many years, strawberries grew in acreage and tons per acre in 2010 over the previous year, according to the annual county crop report, released Tuesday.

Total crop value was a record $532.5 million, up from $492 million in 2009, the report says. Strawberries counted for nearly $200 million of the total.

By comparison, Monterey County crop values slipped less than 1 percent in 2010 after a 5 percent increase a year earlier. Strawberries, which passed leaf lettuce as the No. 1 crop a year ago, remained in the lead, as the two crops had slight declines.

Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Eric Lauritzen pegged the county's gross production value at slightly more than $4 billion. Monterey County is the state's top ag producer.

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