Apr 3, 2013 8:26 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Strawberries land the top crop spot

Last year was a record breaking year for farmers in San Luis Obispo County.
The 2012 crop report shows a jump of more than $100,000,000 in crop values compared to 2011.

Many factors contributed to the success, including weather, diversity of crops grown, and an improving economy.

From Napa cabbage to strawberries, Central Coast farmers hit it big in 2012.

"It's not only the gross amount of money in sales," said Robert Hayashi of Hayashi Farms. "There was a huge production increase."

Although sales weren't bad either, total crop values for last year reached over $860,000,000, an 18 percent increase from 2011.

"That's pretty much weather related, you know, most of the time you have problems with crops, the nights are really cold, or the days are really hot," said Hayashi.

Although rain fall totals were down last year, major temperature fluctuations were limited.

For the second consecutive year, strawberries took the top crop with a total value of $205,000,000, that was followed by grapes at $197,000,000, and cattle at $69,000,000.

"Production was good. It wasn't the biggest crop we've ever had, but it was very high quality," said Jac Jacobs, winemaker at Kelsey Winery.

Jacobs says quality is always better than quantity when it comes to Central Coast grapes.

"There's always a balance between getting a large quantity and getting high quality," said Jacobs, "That's the trick in the wine business, is getting both at the same time which happens rarely."

Favorable weather conditions also helped other crops such as avocados, which saw production increase by 103 percent. Lemons were up 142 percent and production of oranges raised by 73 percent.



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