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Grow Your Farm in Lake County

Friday, March 18, 2016

With the cleanest air in California for the past 25 years, the cleanest air in the nation for the past three years, abundant ground water, and Clear Lake - the largest freshwater lake within California and oldest lake in North America - Lake County offers a Mediterranean climate, affordable agricultural lands, and ideal soils for farming. Come and grow your farm in Lake County!

Four certified farmers’ markets are held around the county May - October; all need more local produce vendors.

Farm to school programs are taking off, bringing great opportunity to grow crops to sell to schools and other institutions.

Additionally, a robust Harvest of the Month program occurs in all Lake County elementary schools serving 4,500 students monthly with a locally sourced calendar in place.

A food hub for Lake and Mendocino Counties ( allows farmers to get their produce ordered and delivered throughout Lake and Mendocino Counties to schools, restaurants, and stores.

A “Grown Local” branding and marketing campaign has increased participating farm sales, for some, over 100% in just one season (

Because of Lake County’s higher elevation than surrounding areas, the summer growing season is shorter than our neighbors’. However, spring, fall, and winter production continue and are ideal seasons to align your production for farm to school. Leafy greens, onions, garlic, root crops and more are produced through the fall, winter, and spring. Summer crops include tomatoes, peppers, melons, pears, apples, berries, and more. Grains (heritage wheat, triticale) also are grown and processed for flour and poultry feed here.

Walnuts grown here are in high demand because they are lighter - and organic certification brings a premium price for growers. With no codling moth or navel orangeworm threats, growers in Lake County only spray for walnut husk fly. Dry farmed walnuts fare even better with less pressure from walnut husk fly than those who irrigate.

Once known as the “Pear Capital of the World,” Lake County’s unique mountain climate combines hot, dry summer months with cool nights; there can be 50º diurnal swings (90º highs with 40º lows). These conditions are ideal not only for pears, winegrapes, and walnuts - what Lake County is historically known for - but for year-round vegetable production.

• 40-acres in Lake cost less than one acre in Sonoma
• Growing wine industry brings increased demand for local foods
• Demand for local food is larger than supply
• Growing Farm to School programs
• Small and welcoming towns
• Strong Right to Farm laws
• Grown Local campaign
• Food Hub for distribution in Lake and Mendocino Counties
• Growing community of farmers to share best practices
• Regional co-op store featuring locally grown organic produce seeking more local organic produce to sell

Lake County is bordered to the south by Napa County, to the west by Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, and to the east by Yolo, Colusa, and Glenn Counties.

Read about one farmers' experience and choice to relocate from Sonoma to Lake County on the blog.