|Famed berry grower Walter Knott inspects strawberries with one of his employees.|
Although strawberries were a fairly profitable crop when weather and disease cooperated, they were also very labor-intensive. This is part of why it took a while for them to catch on. They remained a small crop here in 1910s to 1930s – with 200 to 500 acres at most. They grew particularly well in the sandier soils of the western part of the county.
|A plastic owl guards a local strawberry field in the 1950s.|
But it wasn’t until after WWII that strawberries really took off in a big way in O.C. Beginning around 1968, they were clearly our most profitable crop. That year, we had 1,775 acres, which was probably our biggest year for strawberries.
|Anglos, Japanese and Latinos work together in an O.C. strawberry field during the Great Depression.|