Friday, April 17, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Sugar beets gave way to tomatoes as Yolo’s top crop

By
From page A10 | November 08, 2013 |

Though Yolo County’s crop values were not tracked during the World War II years, there’s still a good indication of what was driving the area’s agriculture at that time.

“That’s when sugar beets were a top crop,” Yolo County Ag Commissioner John Young said, mentioning that sugar beets were valued at more than $5 million in 1946. “Shortly after, it became processing tomatoes, where it has pretty well resided ever since.”

By contrast, the 2012 Yolo County crop report doesn’t even list sugar beets within the top 20 commodities. The top slot has been, as Young mentioned, usurped by tomatoes, which were valued at $111.6 million in the most recent survey.

The decline in the sugar beet production, Young said, had to do with a gradual change in where it was sourced. Imported cane sugar and sugar from other sources, such as corn, eventually overcame the demand for sugar beets.

“Industries change,” he explained. “They’re never static. Different worldwide market pressures come to bear, and the cropping patterns change based on that market demand.”

Nestled up against the location of Clarksburg’s first farm labor camp is a facility that stands as a testament to that change. The Old Sugar Mill, at 35265 Willow Ave., formerly processed a large amount of the region’s sugar beets.

In 2001, the plant, which had been in operation since 1936, closed. It’s now a historic novelty that houses 10 winery tasting rooms.

Given that sugar beet production and harvesting were highly labor-intensive, the depleted manpower in the state’s farms during the war required even more workers in the fields than the German prisoners provided.

Sugar beet growers and other farmers made a request for Mexican labor at the onset of WWII, and thus began what would come to be known as the bracero system, according to braceroarchive.org.

The parents of Alberto Castillo, a Davis resident, came to Yolo County as braceros just as the war was ending. Besides filling the need for agricultural workers, it also allowed immigrants like Castillo’s parents to become naturalized citizens.

“I hate to think of what our lives would have been like if we had continued back to Mexico,” Castillo said. “It is truly a blessing to live in the United States.”

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    UCD study: Crickets not enough to feed the world just yet

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1

    It’ll be a perfect day for a picnic — and lots more

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Turning a mess into olive oil success

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    UCD expands emergency notification service

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A2

     
    California vaccine bill stalls; will come back next week

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Cities: California water reduction order unrealistic, unfair

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Chasing criminals and water-wasters

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Enjoy a chemistry bang on Picnic Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Start your Picnic Day with pancakes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Local students to perform at fundraising concert

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    CA House hosts crepe breakfast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Doxie Derby crowns the winning wiener

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Fundraiser benefits Ugandan women

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    See pups at Picnic Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Davis poet will read his work at library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Ribs and Rotary benefits local charities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Dodd plans fundraising barbecue in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Soroptimists set date for golf tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Socks collected for homeless veterans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Council will present environmental awards Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Invention and upcycling to be honored at Square Tomatoes Fair

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Take a peek at Putah Creek on daylong tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Pence Gallery Garden Tour tickets on sale

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    UC Davis Circle K Club wins awards at district convention

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Davis authors featured at writing conference in Stockton

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Sign up soon for Davis history tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Campus firearms bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Emerson featured at photography program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Portuguese influence in Yolo County detailed

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Concert and dance party celebrate KDRT’s 10 years on the air

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Survival skills to be taught at preserve

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    The new one puts her foot down

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

    It’s time to fight for California’s jobs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Future leaders give back

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    Know where your gift is going

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    Pipeline veto a good move

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    Artists offer heartfelt thanks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    .

    Sports

    DHS boys drop another Delta League match

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie women ready to host (win?) Big West golf tourney

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    New strength coach hopes to stem UCD football injury tide

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Herd has too much for Devil softballers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Les, AD Gould talk about the Aggie coach’s future

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    UCD roundup: Quintet of Aggie gymnasts honored for academics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    River Cats fall to Las Vegas

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

     
    Diamondbacks defeat Giants in 12 innings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    DSF kicks off 10th anniversary celebration at the carousel

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

     
    Many summer enrichment opportunities available for students

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

    .

    Arts

    ‘True Story:’ In their dreams

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    ‘Once’ an unforgetable celebration of music, relationships

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Honda shows off new Civic at New York show

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Robert Leigh Cordrey

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 17, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B10