As Calfornia is such a huge state, its climate is varied, from the mountains with freezing temperatures to the sunny beaches and mild inland climates. Many different fruits and veggies grow in California. The state produces more than half of the produce consumed in the United States. 99 percent of artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives and persimmons sold in the U.S. are grown in California.
Eighty-three percent of the strawberries consumed in the U.S. are grown commercially in California, resulting in sales of $700 million and the employment of 48,000 people. Other crops include oranges, lemons, grapefruits and additional citrus fruits. Avocados, mangoes and cherries are commercial crops as well. Plums are grown and sold fresh and turned into prunes. The home gardener in the majority of the state's mild climates can grow nearly any fruit, including those mentioned plus raspberries, blackberries, figs, apricots, peaches and dates. Avocados can be grown at home but keep in mind they do not ripen on the tree.
Grapes are a major crop in California and are used by the wineries as well as sold as fresh produce and as raisins. Napa Valley is probably the most well known area for wine production, but vineyards and wineries exist throughout the state.
Warm Season Vegetables
Most home gardeners must have a supplemental water source to grow warm-season vegetables, as summer is the dry season in most of California. Warm season vegetables are those that need warm temperatures to germinate and long, warm days to ripen. Those that grow in California include tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, eggplant, sweet peppers, hot peppers and corn.
Cool Season Vegetables
Cool season vegetables are those that need cool temperatures to germinate and cooler temperatures to grow. Many cool season lettuces and greens bolt or go to seed when warm weather hits. Cool season veggies that grow in California include spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, chard, lettuce and peas. The California town of San Luis Obispo's leading vegetable crop is broccoli, valued at over $70 million in 2007.
80 percent of the nation's carrot crop is grown in California. Other root vegetables that can be grown in California include radishes, parsnips, turnips and rutabagas. Home gardeners can grow these as well, and nearly year-round because of the mild climate.