(June 4) SALINAS, Calif. — The value of Monterey County’s agricultural production dropped about 5% in 2001 from the year before, according to the 2001 Monterey County Crop Report.

Leading that fall were decreases in core vegetable crops such as head lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and celery. Some commodities increased in value significantly, including strawberries, mixed vegetables, spring mix, romaine and asparagus, he said.

Organics in the county also surged in value in 2001. The value of organic products increased from $89.9 million in 2000 to $108 million last year.

Overall, vegetable values for the county dropped about 9%, from $2.2 billion in 2000 to $2 billion last year. But fruit value increased about 10%, from $451.6 million in 2000 to 497.7 million last year. And 43 crops in the county brought in more than $1 million last year, including about 35 fresh produce items.

The county’s entire agricultural value in 2001 was $2.85 billion. Of that, fruits and vegetables accounted for more than $2.5 billion.

Growers blamed the drop in revenue on overproduction and falling prices for head lettuce, cauliflower, artichokes and broccoli, as well as competition from Chinese broccoli growers.

Lauritzen also blamed high energy costs and the economy in the wake of the war on terrorism.

“The events of Sept. 11 had a significant impact on many growers as they neared the end of last season,” Lauritzen said. “Vegetable crops, foodservice items and wine grapes were especially impacted by the tragedy.”