Agriculture in San Mateo County

Agriculture is the world's largest economic sector. Worldwide, more people are involved in agriculture than in all other occupations combined. Although San Mateo County is a service dominated economy with less than 1% of our workers employed in agricultural jobs, agriculture remains an important force in the county. It provides food to residents and preserves open space and habitat for wildlife.

What do we grow in San Mateo County?

In San Mateo County, about 3% of the land is used for agriculture. That's as much area as about 36,000 football fields! An additional 16% of the land in San Mateo County is suitable for grazing livestock. Many different crops are grown in the county, ranging from flowers to vegetables and field crops like beans and grain. The vast majority - over 89% in 2004 - of agricultural land is dedicated to field crops.

The following crops are all grown in San Mateo County:

  • Organic:
    Apples, apricots, artichokes, arugula, beans, berries, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, corn, cucumbers, edible flowers, eggs, figs, flowers (cut and potted), garlic, herbs, kale, leeks, lemons, lettuce, nectarines, oats, onions, peaches, pears, peas, plums, potatoes, quince, radish, spinach, strawberries, squash, tomatoes, turnips, vegetable transplants, watermelon.
  • Commercial:
    Cut flowers, potted plants, artichokes, snap beans, Brussels sprouts, leeks, mushrooms, peas, pumpkins, bushberries, strawberries and wine grapes.
  • Livestock grazing:
    Cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, hogs and pigs, goats, chickens and turkeys.
Sustainable Agriculture

According to Sustainable San Mateo County, sustainability is an examination of the relationship between our actions today and their affect on the future. Living sustainably means that we meet today's needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

What does it mean for agriculture to be sustainable? Sustainable agriculture is agriculture that will provide food for today and protect the land and the farmers so that future generations can also have their food needs met. It incorporates food production, environmental stewardship, and economic viability, both for today and the future.

Organic Farming

Organic farming is one aspect of sustainable agriculture. Organic farming relies on ecosystem management to maintain healthy soil and prevent pests and diseases rather than using agricultural inputs like fertilizers and pesticides. This ensures the health of the land and its ability to produce food for future generations. It also protects our waterways by reducing pollution run-off and our air by not using chemical farm inputs that affect our air quality. In San Mateo County there are nine organic farms that cover approximately 125 acres.

Support Sustainable Agriculture in Your Community

You can support sustainable agriculture in San Mateo County. Buy your food from local organic farmers through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or at a nearby farmer's market.

Buy Local!
Buying locally supports farmers, helps the environment, and benefits you. Food is fresher and less energy is used in transportation. You can buy locally grown products direct from the farmers at one of San Mateo County's many Certified Farmers' Markets. You can also check with your green grocer at your local supermarket and ask them to identify which of the vegetables or flowers were grown in San Mateo County.

Resources

Check out the most up-to-date information on the crops grown in San Mateo County in the annual crop report.

Find out about the sustainability challenges facing the agriculture industry and more in the Sustainable San Mateo County Indicators Report.

Find information on Sustainable Agriculture and organic farms at California Certified Organic Farmers.

Learn about the issues that affect farmers and agricultural practices throughout California at the California Farm Bureau.

Find a farmer's market near you!

Join a CSA near you!

Discover what two people did to support locally grown food in their area.