Jared Sydney Torrance originally founded Torrance in 1912 as an industrial city. But the land and its surrounding South Bay region thrived through agricultural activities, beginning in 1784 on the Rancho San Pedro. Farming activities continued after Ben Weston became the first one to buy land from the Dominguez family’s rancho in 1847. Farming remained an important part of city commerce in the transition to a thriving Los Angeles County suburb in the late 1950s. Throughout those early years, family farmers contributed to the city’s economy by raising cattle, pigs, and turkeys, as well as sugar beets, alfalfa, beans, hay, oats, barley, and flowers, and operating dairy farms. Other South Bay cities also relied on agriculture for economic growth, including Carson, once home to a thriving cut-flower farm industry, and Gardena, the one-time berry capital of Southern California, as well as the Palos Verdes Peninsula, where dry farming was a successful industry.
Author Bio: Author Judith Gerber, a Torrance native, writes about California farms and is dedicated to preserving the rich history of the state’s family farmers. She collected the rare photographs for this book from local historical societies, archives, and private collections, including the Torrance Historical Society, California State University, Dominguez Hills, and the Palos Verdes Library District.
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