- Strawberries were grown in Santa Cruz gardens as early as the 1850s.
- The first sizable, commercial strawberry production arrived in the Pajaro Valley in the late 1870s/early 1880s and was farmed using subcontracted Chinese labor.
- In 1886, an arrangement was made in which Pajaro business furnished land, plants, water and boxes; while, Chinese laborers farmed the crop. Proceeds were evenly split.
- 1911: The first strawberries were grown by Japanese growers in the Romie Lane area of Soledad area in the Salinas Valley
- Production Stats :
- Fragaria ananassa, is a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria (collectively known as the strawberries).
- Is cultivated worldwide.
- Fruit is not a botanical berry, but an aggregate accessory fruit meaning that the fleshy part is derived not from the plant’s ovaries but from the receptacle that holds the ovaries.
- Each apparent “seed” (achene) on the outside of the fruit is actually one of the ovaries of the flower, with a seed inside it.
- In California, strawberries are transplanted.
- Transplants are grown in isolated nurseries in Northern California.
- California nurseries use mother plants which produce 7 daughter plants from above ground stems or stolons.
- Usually, in the August timeframe, it is time to ship the strawberry daughter plants.
- Daughter plants
- Are mown and a potato digger type of machine digs them. The daughter plant tops and roots are trimmed.
- Each is wrapped and put in a box with hundreds of other daughters.
- Are shipped in refrigerated trucks south to the strawberry fields that have already been prepped.
- Each costs about $0.12/plant.
- The number of daughter plants per acre varies. About 25,000 are planted per acre in the South (Ventura/Santa Barbara)Fewer plants are planted per acre in Monterey/Santa Cruz areas.
- The mother plants are discarded.
- In Santa Barbara, ground prep begins in July/August. The first berry is harvested in March. Between the first cultivation until harvest, a grower will invest as much as $12-15,000 per acre (2014 stats). At the final harvest, the grower will have invested as much as $40,000-$50,000/acre.
Reposted from October 9, 2014 Facebook Post
Books and References
Anderson, Burton. The Salinas Valley: A History of Amreica’s Salad Bowl. Monterey County History Society. 2000.