People have drawn on the fertile soil of the Salinas River and the Carmel River Valleys for thousands of years. The first inhabitants, the Rumsen and Ohlone Indians, gathered plants they found including the acorns from the oak groves; the Spanish padres brought tomatoes, squash, maize and other crops including the grapevines that would furnish sacramental wine.
Over the years, farm crops and farming techniques have changed beyond recognition – the creation of irrigation transformed the Salinas Valley into the “the salad bowl of the nation” the grapevines brought by the padres have given way to some of the nation’s finest vineyards.
- The Monterey County Rural Life and Agricultural Museum, located in south Monterey County in the town of King City highlights an open-air museum of rural historic buildings saved from locations around the county.
- A comprehensive overview of agriculture in the region is presented at the National Steinbeck Center’s Agricultural Wing.