Monterey County’s top four most valuable crops remained unchanged from 2018 to 2019, led by leaf lettuce, which saw an increase of almost 15%, boosted by better pricing for romaine.
Overall, the county’s ag production value increased 3.5% in 2019, to almost $4.41 billion, according to the Monterey County 2019 Crop Report, issued by the county’s agricultural commission.
Of the top 10 crops, ranked by production value, seven categories are vegetables, with the exception being strawberries, in the No. 2 slot again, and wine grapes and nursery products. All 10 crops are the same crops from the 2018 list.
Strawberries saw an increase of about 5%, with a bump of more than $34 million, to $732.76 million, mostly due to improved fresh strawberry prices, according to the report.
Head lettuce, Monterey County’s third-most valuable crop, increased almost 12% to $514.09 million. Increased production and higher average prices for carton-packed lettuce are the main reasons for the increase, according to the report.
Overall, vegetable crops saw an increased production value in 2019 of about $228 million, at just under $3.1 billion. The fruits and nuts category dropped about $15.7 million in value to $1.03 billion, according to the report, but that includes a 25% drop in wine grape crop value. Dropping wine grapes from the category gives fruit and nuts a $46 million (5.7%) boost from 2018 to 2019.
Monterey County’s top crop values, followed by 2019 and 2018 rankings, are:
Leaf lettuce: $840.56 million, 1/1;
Strawberries: $732.76 million, 2/2;
Head Lettuce: $514.09 million, 3/3;
Broccoli: $457.39 million, 4/4;
Cauliflower $212.38 million, 5/6;
Misc. vegetables: $196.84 million, 6/7;
Celery $186.39 million, 7/9
Wine Grapes: $186.1 million; 8/5
Nursery: $143.98 million, 9/8; and
Spinach: $127.12 million, 10/10.