California Cuisine,
 Dining & Food Reviews


California Agriculture by Commodity, Rank and Earnings



California Agricultural by Commodity Group Measured by Value of Principal Dollars
Measured in the Millions



While people complain that California is too crowded, this vast land of premium weather happens to be one of the top agricultural growing regions in the United States, and perhaps event the globe. So locally, Californians ask why their food is coming from other countries when, like the offshore oil that is collected, refined and distributed, Californians seem not to gain access to what their state supplies as commodities around the globe.


For the family farms and farmers to survive in California, their livelihoods have been jeopardized by practices of seed collection and modification, and competition from giant food conglomerates. A trend toward Slow foods and agricultural tourism is coming about as farmers recognized that several hundred million citizens hardly know where their food comes from. The "ag tours" introduce not only kids and adult travelers to the bounty produced on local farms throughout the state, it also allows chefs from top kitchens to experience the quality products that lend to better meals in restaurants, as well.


As we've traveled the Central Coast and visited farms of the Central Valley (two top growing regions in California), we've discovered what fresh-picked almonds taste like, sampled and compared olive oils, tried dozens of new wines, found great cheeses, picked our own strawberries, and gazed out at the fields of artichokes in Castroville.  The figures below are at least a year old but provide an idea of what's hot in California agriculture.


Some products such as cotton are quite surprising. And when you visit a California Farmers Market, you'll see seasonally and regionally some of the items on the chart below.  A network of growers pack their produce and drive it around to the various markets held throughout the state.  Those growers and their reps at least give Californians and the visitors they host an opportunity to sample and dine on fresher produce than found in many stores.


Once you find something really fresh, it spoils you for the rest of your days as you become driven to purchase and dine on the best.


a/ f.a.s. value basis
b/ "Total other products" is composed of (1) highly processed products that are difficult to attribute to a specific commodity, such as mixtures of fruits, nuts, and  vegetables and other processed foods; and (2) animal and plant products marketed

Source: Department of Food and Agriculture, Agricultural Export Program, (916) 654-0389, 


Commodity Rank Millions
Almonds 1 $829.0
Cotton 2 513.5
Wine 3 485.7
Table grapes 4 367.3
Oranges 5 303.0
Dairy 6 300.9
Tomatoes, processed 7 215.4
Walnuts 8 183.9
Rice 9 183.0
Beef and products 10 167.7
Strawberries 11 156.7
Raisins 12 151.9
Lettuce 13 136.4
Pistachios 14 130.7
Prunes 15 127.9
Peaches, Nectarines 16 106.7
Hay 17 103.9
Broccoli 18 95.3
Lemons 19 84.0
Carrots 20 71.2
Plums 21 54.9
Cauliflower 22 51.4
Tomatoes, fresh 23 48.7
Cherries 24 45.5
Celery 25 42.3
Melons 26 40.1
Onions 27 37.7
Flowers & nursery 28 37.2
Grapefruit 29 31.7
Apples 30 31.1
Potatoes 31 30.2
Grape juice 32 28.5
Garlic 33 23.2
Bell peppers 34 19.6
Pears 35 19.4
Apricots 36 17.5
Asparagus 37 17.1
Olives 38 11.3
Dates 39 10.9
Dry beans 40 10.4
Eggs 41 8.3
Kiwi 42 7.6
Figs 43 7.1
Cottonseed byproducts 44 6.9
Turkey 45 5.6
Chickens 46 5.3
Wheat 47 4.1
Artichokes 48 3.1
Mushrooms 49 1.8
Avocados 50 1.5
Total principal commodities   5,374.1
Total other products   1,094.7
Total all agricultural exports   $6,468.8