- Author: Brad Hanson
A few months ago I compiled some statistics on the acreage and value of tree and vine crops in California and put together a simple map of where the main production areas are located. One caveat to this map is that I only had access to land use data layers for the Central Valley counties and some Bay area and Central Coast areas. Therefore, this map does not show orchards and vineyards in Southern California or the Desert growing regions which are very important for some crops in the chart below the map.
These crops all fall under the label of "specialty crops" although some of them have fairly substantial acreage. One of the things I found most interesting in looking at these data compared to a few years ago is the growth in olive, pomegranate, and berry crops due in large part to the health benefits of these food products and also the implementation of mechanical harvesting of oil-type olives.
Of the largest groups in the chart above, grapes can be broken down into about 480,000 acres of wine grapes, 83,000 acres of table grapes, and 221,000 acres of raisins. Tree nuts consist primarily of over 700,000 acres of bearing almonds (with close to another 100,000 non-bearing), 123,000 acres of pistachio, and 223,000 acres of English walnuts. Stone fruits are led by 64,000 acres of plums for drying (prunes) followed by 25-30,000 acres each of cling peach, freestone peach, sweet cherry, fresh plum, and nectarines.