Salinas Valley



The Salinas Valley has repeatedly metamorphosized over past 300 years.

  • At first, there were the Spanish Missions.
  • Then, in XXXX, Mexico won independence from Spain and decided to secularize the old Spanish Missions. Large swaths of land were granted to Californios and individuals who assisted with the Mexican War of Independence.
  • In 1848, Mexico ceded California to the United States.
  • In 1949, Gold was discovered, which drove up prices of beef.
  • In XXXX, Calfornia became the XX state of the United States.
  • In XXX, the California legislature passed a law requiring the rancheros to produce a patent of the Mexican Ranchos. Many either couldn’t produce the patent or ran up debt during the Gold Rush or both. The Ranchos were auctioned off and split up among visionary East Coast and European settlers.
  • 186X, ARCStorm
  • 186X 0186X, worst drought in recorded history
  • Between 1857 to 1865, Wheat was King! Grain acreage in Monterey County, alone, increased from 2,450 to 27,358 acres.
  • 187X, irrigation canals were built
  • 187X, first irrigation well was built in the Gonzales area
  • Even though immigrants and settlers were pouring into California, first for the Gold Rush, then, after the Civil War, few people settled in the Salinas Valley until the 1880s.
  • 1872, Southern Pacific Railroad extended to Salinas.
  • 188X, Moss Landing Harbor is built
  • 1873, Southern Pacific Railroad was extended to Soleda.d
  • 1886, Southern Pacific Railroad was extended to King City.
  • 1888, Salinas possessed the largest flour mill south of San Francisco.
  • 188X, to San Ardo
  • !88s to San Miguel.
  • 18XX, Swiss, Portuguese and Danish immigrants started dairies. By the 1920s, there were 300  Salinas Valley dairies milking over 25,000 cows.
  • 1898, Spreckels Sugar Factory was opened. At that time, it was the largest sugar better refinery in the world and remained so for 60 years. 

The Salinas Valley History is inextricably and intricately tied to lettuce production. 

  • 1914-1917, dried beans were produced for the WWI War Effort
  • 1922, there were 30 acres of Lettuce planted around Salinas.
  • Within eight years that number increased to 43,000./
  • XXXX first rail car with ice
  • XXXX vacuum cooling
  • 1930s, Salinas Lettuce Strike.
  • 193X-104X, Guayule, a plant containing a natural latex was developed by the US military and planted throughout the Salinas Valley, the Central Coast, and the desert Southwest.
  • 1942-1945, dried beans were produced for the WWII War Effort.
  • By the 1950s, Salinas Valley supplied 70% of the nation’s fresh lettuce as well as artichokes, celery, carrots, and cauliflower.


Many innovations came out of the Salinas Valley that impacted worldwide agricultural production. Additionally, the Salinas Valley growers were excellent at adopting new technologies to the Salinas Valley and refining them for the cool season vegetable industry.