Wine grapes were the No. 1 top crop in San Joaquin County in 2017.
The 666,000 tons harvested from 98,100 acres further cemented San Joaquin County’s positon of being the top wine grape growing county in California as well as the nation far outpacing production in Napa, Sonoma and Monterey counties.
It also underscores major winery expansion in the immediate Manteca-Ripon area. The Wine Group – one of the nation’s top three wineries – has finished the initial phase of a major expansion of their operations on East Highway 120 in rural Ripon at Murphy Road, just west of Escalon.
Manteca-based Delicato Family Vineyards is now in the process of expanding its winery on Highway 99 just south of French Camp Road north of Manteca. It is also among the nation’s top 10 wineries.
Overall, San Joaquin County farmers sent crops to market worth in excess of $2.5 billion – and 8.13 percent over the 2016 values.
“San Joaquin County is heavily agricultural with farmland spreading over 58 percent of the county,” said San Joaquin County Agricultural Commissioner Tim Pelican. “More than 3,580 farms cover 518,000 acres and raise everything from asparagus and grapes, to livestock, bees, fruits, nuts, tomatoes, and many things in between. Our unique climate and geography as well as our rich soil and diverse water resources allow us to grow over 250 commodities throughout the year and result in San Joaquin County being one of the most abundant agricultural regions in the world.”
Milk was in the No. 2 spot as production came in at $387.4 million, up 6.95 percent from 2016.
Almonds – the dominant crop in the countryside around Escalon, Manteca and Ripon – increased 3.98 percent in value to $362.7 million. Countywide, 75,400 acres were planted in almonds with 75,400 of those acres bearing nuts, up from 41,100 acres in 2016.
Walnuts came in fourth at $317 million from 67,500 acres.
San Joaquin County is clearly the land of fruits and nuts as fruit and nut crop production increased by 11.52 percent, continuing to be the largest in total value at $1.36 billion. Livestock and poultry production increased overall by 7.76 percent for a value of $429.9 million.
Pumpkins – nearby Manteca’s signature crop – saw a drop of almost $11.4 million as 47,400 tons rolled out of the area in 2017 compared to 75,400 tons worth $28.3 million in 2016. Manteca, with 2,790 acres dedicated to pumpkins grown specifically for holiday decorations, produced 88 percent of California’s pumpkin crop. There were 600 less aces planted in pumpkins last year than in 2016.