Irrigated Crops

 

Link to:  Central Oregon Agriculture Research Station-Crop Research 

Irrigated crop production in Jefferson County is focused largely on high value vegetable and grass seed crops, peppermint for tea leaves and specialized potatoes. In addition there is a significant amount of alfalfa and grass hay production, with wheat historically used as a rotational crop.

It is estimated that 85 percent of hybrid carrot seed used in the United States is produced in Jefferson County. When you eat "baby carrots" from the grocery store, the seed was likely produced locally. World wide, it is estimated that 70 percent of the hybrid carrot seed comes from Jefferson County.

The major grass seed crop is Kentucky bluegrass used for lawns. Jefferson county is also the primary production area for rough bluegrass, used in warm season climates to over-seed turf areas in the winter. This provides a green lawn when the warm season grasses have gone dormant and the lawns would otherwise be brown.

Peppermint in central Oregon has historically been grown for oil used in chewing gum, toothpaste and candy. More recently production has shifted to tea leaves used for peppermint tea, an alternative to traditional tea drinks. Much of this product goes to Europe, where the drinking of hot tea is more popular.