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Watsonville, CA

Located approximately 95 miles south of San Francisco, the city of Watsonville, California, is part of Santa Cruz County. The city is situated in the Pajaro Valley, and is home to roughly 50,000 residents. Watsonville is the second-largest city in Santa Cruz County and is also known as "the Apple City," for the apple orchards that were once abundant throughout the region.

The area's original inhabitants were the Costanoans, a local Indian tribe. By 1850, numerous settlers held claims to land in the region. Named after Judge John Watson, the town of Watsonville incorporated in 1868, and became a municipality under city charter in 1903.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Strawberries are the predominant agricultural crop in Watsonville and major strawberry producers such as Sweet Darling, Driscoll and West Marine Dole are headquartered in the region. Other important crops include blackberries, raspberries, lettuce and mushrooms.

Although many apple orchards were converted to other uses in the 1950s, Martinelli's - an award-winning producer of apple-based beverages - remains in the Pajaro Valley. Watsonville's cool but temperate climate and its coastal locale are perfect for growing the superb, flavorful apples that are the staple of this 140-year-old company.

Watsonville Community Hospital has 750 employees and is over a century old. The hospital offers a full range of health care services, including a birthing center and neonatal intensive care unit, a cardiac care and cath lab, and an in-patient/out-patient surgical center.

Other major employers in the area include West Marine Products, a food wholesaler; Fox Factory Inc., a high-performance vehicle component manufacturer; and Ameri-Kleen Building Services, a cleaning service.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

The city of Watsonville accommodates an urban population of more than 50,000 and a very negligible rural population. Neighborhoods and districts of Watsonville accommodate around 11,800 houses, out of which more than 11,500 are occupied. Of the occupied houses, about half are owner-occupied and half are renter-occupied. The median home price in Watsonville is much lower than the statewide median price.

The Watsonville Civic Plaza is a massive complex, comprising a new library, the Agricultural Workers History Museum, the Santa Cruz Municipal Courthouse, city government buildings, and private office space.

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