Tustin’s Agricultural Roots

View showing the citrus crops grown in the lush hills of Lemon Heights, c1925.

The first crops consisted primarily of corn, barley, wheat, and other row crops. Columbus Tustin‘s family planted vegetables as did many other families for their, mainly, personal use. Some people (ranchers and growers) experimented with fruit trees, especially prunes, grapes, apples, and peaches, initially.

Water, however, at times was hard to come by. Although rights to Santa Ana River water were promised to each purchaser of Rancho de Santiago Ana land only a little reached Tustin in the early 1870’s. The situation improved only after the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company (SAVI) was organized in 1877. With plenty of irrigation water, Tustin City’s fertile land produced in earnest.

By 1880, local ranchers had found out would not grow and began to dig out their prunes, grapes, apples, and peach trees, and plant walnuts, apricots, peanuts, oranges, and lemons. Tustin became an agricultural center.