image-AG review
Agricultural production in San Mateo County increased to almost $150 million in the last year, fueled by greenhouse agriculture. Review File Photo

A $5.2 million increase in indoor floral and nursery crops boosted San Mateo County’s overall crop values for a third consecutive year. 

San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner Fred Crowder presented the 2018 crop report before the Board of Supervisors Aug. 6, estimating the year’s agricultural production increased by about 5 percent to $149.2 million.

Among potted plants grown indoors, like orchids, hydrangeas and succulents, a price increase offset a significant drop in production square footage. 

Crowder said the coast’s “Goldilocks” weather makes for ideal greenhouse conditions. He said the climate is perfect for such production.

Outdoor cut flower production value, including flowers like dahlias and larkspur, dropped 30 percent. Crowder said county growers don’t have the land available to produce cut flowers at the quantities necessary to be globally competitive. The report added that growers may be transitioning land to other commodities, such as vegetables.

Overall production value for outdoor floral and nursery crops declined by more than $1 million, but the loss was offset by the increase in value from indoor floral and nursery crops. 

Brussels sprouts were once again the most valuable vegetable here. Per-unit value declined, but a 20 percent boost in production acres meant the crop increased in value to $14.2 million. 

Fava beans, leeks and pumpkins were the other most popular crops, though fava beans declined by $700,000 in value. In all, vegetable crops increased by about 2 percent, according to the report.

The value of cattle and calves dropped, but Crowder noted that 2018 was still the second year ever during which total value was above $2 million.

“The fact that (farmers) are selling fewer heads and getting more for them means they’re doing just fine,” he said.

Fruit and nut values, including apples, berries, chestnuts and wine grapes, increased by about 11 percent. Field crops, like dry beans, grain and hay, increased about 5 percent, though per-unit values for grain fell by over 50 percent.

Crowder also reported on the county’s pest detection and exclusion data. The county reported that it conducted nearly 30,000 inspections of agricultural shipments and intercepted 83 pests, including ants, moths and aphids. Staff placed 4,250 traps in host plants and checked 55,000 times. No pests of concern were found on the traps, according to the report.

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