Sonoma County doesn’t produce much in the way of vegetables. In 2015, roughly 512 acres of vegetable production yielded $12 million. Not much, given that yearly we consume several hundred million dollars’ worth of the stuff. So, what gives? Are there farmers who want to grow more but can’t find buyers willing to pay the price needed to pay for inputs? What’s driving the cost that’s driving the higher price? Is it due to scarcity of agricultural land? That’s what we hear. We also hear that grapes, which occupy roughly 60,000 acres today, are consuming the last remaining land suitable for vegetables.
At Made Local Magazine, we don’t know if all of this is true or not, but we’d like to find out.
The map on this page shows three primary types of agricultural lands in Sonoma County:
DA (Diverse Agriculture District) 67,301 acres
LEA (Land Extensive Agriculture District) 179,302 acres
LIA (Land Intensive Agriculture District) 70,329 acres
It’s beyond the scope of this article to define those land use types. To learn more, go to sonoma-county.org/PRMD/docs/zoning/index.htm.
See the little black square that shows total vegetable acreage? That’s the 512 acres we grow currently, and quite a contrast to the total potential agricultural acreage you see on this map. If we wanted to double the vegetable acreage, then double that square.