Before the Santa Clara region developed its "Silicon Valley" legacy, there were other cash crops prospering here -- in full abundance. Santa Clara lies between two mountain ranges that shelter it from the cool San Francisco Bay climate and the Pacific Ocean, producing a perfect climate. Agricultural success was assured by the artesian well water that underlay the valley, and farming for carrots, almonds, tomatoes, prunes, apricots, plums, walnuts, cherries, and pears flourished.
Sunnyvale’s Orchard Heritage Park was created to preserve the early agricultural legacy that preceded the valley's technical development. The original fields were planted by the early Spanish mission settlers and during the 1900’s immigrants worked the fields making 25 cents an hour. Each orchard tree would produce 300 pounds of fruit annually given the ideal conditions.
Farms thrived until World War II when manpower departed to support the war effort, and after the war technology moved into the valley, forcing the orchards to make way for homes and businesses that supported the modern industry. Most farming operations have moved south to the Salinas Valley, which has assumed its role as "America's Salad Bowl." Here you will find strawberries, lettuce, broccoli, peppers and other crops as well as flowers and grape vineyards -- eerything you need for your dinner salad.