Almost all of the country's almonds, apricots, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, nectarines, olives, pistachios, prunes, and walnuts are grown in California. It is the largest producer of avocados, grapes, lemons, melons, peaches, plums, and strawberries in the world. California also leads the nation in the production of asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cotton, eggplant, garlic, honey, herbs, onions, oil seeds (canola and safflower), peas, peppers, pine nuts, rice, sugar beets, tobacco, and wheat.
The economic impact of California's agriculture industry is estimated to be $54 billion per year. The state's food economy alone is valued at over $150 billion.
California's climate is perfect for growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, so it no surprise that its food supply is rich and varied. The state is also the number one exporter of agricultural products, so much of what we eat has been grown far away from its original consumer.
California produces more than one-third of the nation's veggies and two-thirds of the nation's fruits and nuts. Dairy products and milk ($7.34 billion) are among California's top ten most valuable commodities for the 2019 harvest. Almonds are worth $6.09 billion. Grapes cost $5.41 billion. Apple sales alone are nearly $7 billion.
California has a major impact on the global market. It is estimated that California exports $28 billion worth of food and beverage products. The state's main markets are the United States, Canada, and Mexico. China is the largest consumer of California products, including fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
California has become a world leader in organic agriculture. The state has passed laws requiring large producers to offer their land for growing organically, while small farmers can apply for permits to sell their produce as organic. It is estimated that California grows about 15 percent of the country's organic crops.
In 2018, California's total crop value was $35.5 billion, with fruit and vegetable production accounting for $11.5 billion of that. Milk and dairy products accounted for another $4.8 billion. Cotton production was also important, with $1.5 billion worth grown in California.
The city of San Francisco has been known as an urban farm since 1849 when it was bought as a public garden.
The San Joaquin Valley accounts for the majority of California's agricultural production (measured in dollars), accounting for 12.8 percent of total agricultural production in the United States. Grapes include table, raisin, and wine grapes, cotton, nuts (particularly almonds and pistachios), citrus, and vegetables. The valley has been described as "America's salad bowl" because of its diversity of crops and the presence of major transportation networks that allow for their distribution nationwide and worldwide.
Some studies have estimated that if the San Joaquin Valley were a country, it would be the sixth largest producer of food and agriculture on Earth. The value of the region's annual crop production is around $7 billion, with over 80 percent of this going outside of California. The main exports are fruit and vegetables, with the United States being the biggest market and Mexico the second biggest.
The origin of the term "Valley Fever" comes from the San Joaquin Valley where most cases occur. The disease is caused by a fungus that grows in dirt with much water content, such as that found in river banks, irrigation canals, and wet soil. This fungus produces spores that can travel through the air and land on other objects. Once there, the spore germinates and grows into a mold structure that infiltrates the lungs. In mild cases, symptoms include cough, fever, and shortness of breath; in severe cases, death can result.