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Yuba City's Agricultural Heritage

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Yuba City would not be what it is today without Sutter County's agricultural heritage.

Agriculture around Sutter County can be traced to1840 when John Sutter started a stock ranch called the "Hock Farm" near the site of what would become Yuba City.

Sutter abandoned the Hock Farm in 1868 when a fire set by vandals destroyed the main building. However, people continued to move to the area and agriculture continued it's important role in Sutter County's development.

In 1868, Edward Proper developed "Proper Wheat" which became known for it's suitability for shipping over long distances.

In 1873, a Sutter County farmer received an order of nursery stock from Elwanger & Barry, Nurserymen of Rochester, New York. Included in the shipment were three European grape vines. The farmer was asked to plant them and report his success or failure. Two of the vines died, but the the third grew. The grapes from the vine had no seeds and local growers soon realized they would make good raisins. The Sutter County Horticultural Society named the grape "Thompson Seedless" after the farmer, William Thompson.

While the Thompson Seedless is no longer produced commercially in Sutter County, more acres are planted with this variety than with any other raisin grape.

generic artIn the 1880's A. F. Abbott and Joseph Phillips developed the "Phillips Canning Cling Peach" which helped make Sutter County the "Peach Bowl of the World" through the 1960's when commercial production began to decline.

Today, the availability of water, plus long, sunny growing seasons, make Sutter County prime agricultural land. Over 93% of the County's land is classified as "important farmland" making it one of the most intensively farmed counties in California. Agricultural products produced in Sutter County are exported throughout the world.

The ten leading crops include: rice, beans, tomatoes, melons, alfalfa, hay, and tree crops of peaches, almonds, walnuts and plums. No one around here says 'plums' though. Yuba City is home to Sunsweet Growers Inc., the largest prune packing plant in the world, so we skip the middle stage and just call 'em prunes.

You can learn more about agriculture in Sutter County by visiting Yuba City Farm Advisior, Michael Cahn's Web Site. It's called Vegetable Bytes.

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