Janet Balicki Weber, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Harvest season is underway in Sonoma County and for those living in Wine Country that means grapes.
But let’s not forget the multitude of other crops that have jockeyed for the title of top crop through the years. Hops, apples and prunes have all taken turns dominating the economy at one time.
And there were other crops, too: walnuts, cherries and berries were once part of a diverse agricultural landscape that in recent years has become more grape-centric.
Agriculture has always been important to Sonoma County. In the 1920s, Sonoma County was ranked eighth in the country in agricultural production. In 1931, it was 10th, with all this coming from around 7,000 farms, 5,100 of which were 50 acres or smaller.
The small family farm usually grew multiple crops; producers often grew three or four to back up their primary yield. When prices dipped for one, they were prepared.
Of course, there also are animal products. Although crops like hops have nearly disappeared from the county, poultry and dairy continue to be big producers from Cloverdale to Petaluma.