California produces a wide diversity of crops, but as of 2012, grapes account for almost $4.5 billion of the $42.6 billion California farms and ranches receive for their produce annually. Other significant crops include almonds, producing $4.3 billion, and strawberries, producing $1.9 billion.
California produces over 99 percent of the commercially grown grapes in the United States. Los Angeles became home to the first California vineyard in 1839, and the newly constructed transcontinental railway allowed successful shipping of fresh California grapes to Chicago in 1869. As of 2014, the state produces over one million boxes of grapes annually and ships them to 65 different countries.
The Franciscan padres brought almonds with them from Spain in the 1700s; however, the moist, cool weather of the regions they settled took several years to develop a successful almond harvest. By the early 1900s, almond growers had established the nut as a cash crop for the state. By 2000, almond trees covered over 500,000 acres in the San Jacquie and Sacramento Valleys, making almonds a leading cash crop for the state.
Strawberries came to California in the 1900s. As of 2014, California farmers plant over 25,000 acres annually, producing more than 80 percent of the United States' strawberries. A single acre of ground in California produces about 21 tons of strawberries, with the state producing a billion pounds annually.