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Agriculture

Before 1888 the Santa Clara River Valley was given over to range land for sheep and cattle.  With the coming of the railroad this changed.  The valley was soon given over to orchards and crops of all types. 


​Early in its development, much of the acreage was sown in beans, alfalfa and barley.  The canyons were (and still are) home to many apiaries.

One of the many agricultural products tried in the early years were olives. C. C Elkins established the Elkins Olive Oil Factory on Main Street and Fillmore Street around 1903. 

In 1888, the Sespe Land and Water Company set aside five acres to try growing oranges.  Ten years later, the Ventura Free Press wrote that Fillmore was "a horticultural center for oranges, lemons and apricots."  Apricots and walnuts were also major crops with entire families picking the harvest for drying which would then be shipped to market.  Apricots were labor intensive and by the 1940s most orchards had been replaced by orange groves.

​In 1899, the Fillmore Citrus Fruit Association built its first packinghouse at Sespe and A Street.  Eventually there would be 12 citrus packing houses in the city.

​In early 1889, the orchards in Bardsdale were found to be infected with fluted scale.  This led to the establishment the Fillmore Citrus Protective District. In 1926 the District built the first insectary for the purpose of raising beetles to control mealy bug.  Howard Lorbeer was the director of the insectary from its inception to his retirement in 1974.  The insectary was a leading facility in biological pest control until losses in the citrus industry led to its closure in the early 2000s.

​ Avocados entered the mix in the 1970s.  By 2020 large amounts of citrus acreage had been converted to avocados and vegetable crop.

From 1948 until 1970, Calvin Deeter produced turkeys on his ranch on Goodenough Road.

​Dairies, such as the Mayhew Dairy and Sanitary Dairy provided milk delivery and other products for the local residents.