While some crops lost value, Hart found reason for optimism in exports.
“There’s disappointment here,” he said of the report. “The dollars don’t match up to the previous year. But there are just huge gains in export dollars across all the vegetable segments.”
Lettuce exports tallied 378.8 million pounds in 2011, up from 279.8 million. Broccoli rose from 68.4 million pounds to 95 million. Tomatoes were up from 5.6 million to 21.5 million. Canada drew 67% of the county’s exports; Japan, 10%.
“That’s good testimony to the creativity of the ag business,” Hart said. “There’s more pressure around the country. Buy local programs definitely have an impact on shipping our product. But I’m really pleased to see export numbers this high.”
Jim Bogart, president of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, said the report showed the overall strength of the industry.
“While local, state and national economies are tanking, agriculture here continues to hold its own,” Bogart said. “That’s a direct reflection of the resourcefulness, the resilience and the cutting-edge technologies that the Central Coast continues to lead the world in.”
Besides vegetable and fruit production, the crop report includes values for wine grapes, nursery and ranch products, plus seed and field crops.