Within the last few decades, agriculture in San Juan County has been on the rebound. SJC farmers specialize in crops such as grass-fed meats, berries, tree fruits, and year round production of vegetables for market, as well as fiber, lavender, and herbs. They create value-added products such as jams, jellies, and sauces. More recently, higher value products include artisan cheeses and an apple distillery for production of Calvados. Increased construction of greenhouses and hoop houses have allowed year-round production of crops that would typically die in the cold winter weather, and also help production of heat-loving crops such as tomatoes, melons, and some herbs.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) census, between the years 2002 and 2007 farms in San Juan County grew 29% in number (225 to 291) and 25% in total acreage (17,146 to 21,472), while the average size decreased slightly. Most of this growth was in small farms: farms of 1-9 acres increased from 32 in number in 2002 to 42 in 2007, and farms of 10-49 acres increased from 119 in 2002 to 155 in 2007. Today, the average size of commercial farms in SJC is about 20 acres, representing a shift to more intense production of market crops, and a shift away from the larger livestock operations that were prevalent in the 1900’s.