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Specialty Crops in California

Specialty crops – fruit, vegetables, and nuts – are the mainstay of California agriculture. California is by far the number one US producer of specialty crops both in quantity and in diversity, with a total of over 400 different crops recorded. Many of California’s specialty crops (such as almonds, artichokes, and broccoli) are grown almost nowhere else in the country.

Specialty crops face a variety of climate-related challenges. Perennials such as grapevines and nut trees represent a major investment and – unlike annual field crops – cannot be abandoned or fallowed in the event of a severe drought, storm, or heat wave. Warmer temperatures may prevent stonefruit (such as peaches and cherries) from experiencing the chill-hours needed for proper flowering. But California’s wide variety of crops and microclimates suggests a multitude of adaptation options. 

The California Climate Hub works closely with researchers, extension agents, and commodity boards to identify and respond to the needs of specialty crop producers. Some of the Hub's efforts include research, assessments, and syntheses, tool development, and outreach and education. Read more about some of our efforts by following the links below.