Vegetable Research & Information Center, UC Cooperative Extension

Central Coast Agriculture


High quality annual artichokes are produced in the Lompoc Valley.

The central coast is an ideal location for the year-round production of edible pod peas.


bell peppers


Late season bell peppers being harvested in Lopez Canyon.


Napa (Chinese cabbage) and Pak Choy variety trial. These two crops are important segments of a larger year-round vegetable production system.

Napa & Pak Choy

field harvesting celery

Field harvesting celery - approximately 5000 acre crops on the central coast.

Celery transplanting - most cool season vegetables are now transplanted allowing more crops per acre per year.

celery transplanting

Central Coast Overview

The Central Coast includes parts of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Vegetable production in this area occurs in a number of coastal valleys drained by streams that flow directly into the Pacific Ocean.

These small valleys provide unique climatic niches and soil types which are ideal for the year round production of many fruits, vegetables and seed crops. Of the valleys, the Oxnard Plain, the Lompoc and Santa Maria Valleys, the Oceano Plain and Lopez Canyon constitute the largest production units. These areas plus other smaller valleys comprise about 150,000 acres of prime farmland.

This region has also come-of-age as a premium wine grape production area and approximately 41,000 acres of rolling hills mainly in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties are now planted to grapes.

The Oxnard Plain produces most of the celery grown in California, Other crops include dry beans, strawberries, onions, bell and chile peppers and a variety of cool season leafy vegetables. The Lompoc Valley is still home to a large flower seed production industry as well as an area for field grown cut flowers, plus broccoli, cauliflower, dry beans, lettuce, celery and annual artichokes. The Santa Maria valley produces year round broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, Oriental vegetables, plus spinach, parsley, cilantro, other leafy greens and edible pod peas. Warm season crops include bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn, dry and green beans and summer squashes. This same vegetable mix extends into the Oceano-Lopez Canyon area.

Vegetable production constitutes a $175,743.0001 industry in San Luis Obispo County, a $328,620,5741 industry in Santa Barbara County and a $296,839,0002 industry in Ventura County.

1 Year 2000 Agricultural Commissioner's Report
2 Year 1999Agricultural Commissioner's Report

Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California.
All contents copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California. All Rights Reserved.
Development funding from the University of California and USDA, CSREES.
Please e-mail your comments to:
Last updated: August 21, 2020
Plant Sciences ANR Logo