Author: Eric Chastaine | Business Development Director
So we all know that we have an office in Yuma, but what do we know about Yuma itself?
The first Europeans to arrive in Yuma did so clear back in 1540, approximately 80 years before the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, when Spanish expeditions traveled up the Colorado River from the Sea of Cortez. Yuma is strategically located along the Colorado River near a section where the river flows between two granite rock outcroppings and quickly became known as the easiest and safest location to cross the unpredictable river: The Yuma Crossing.
How did Yuma get its name? The earliest Spanish explorers referred to the native Indians as the Yumas, from the Spanish word for smoke (Humo), due to the smoke from their cooking fires they could see across the valley, although it would later be referred to as Colorado City, Arizona City and eventually Yuma by decree of President Lincoln as part of his Territorial Agreement signed in 1863.
Over nearly 500 years of history, Yuma has seen and been several things. The first Mission was established in the 1680s. Yuma officially made the map when New Spain identified it as a key point in their overland route from Tucson to Northern CA. Yuma was put on the map with Americans as a result of the gold rush of 1849. Yuma located on the quickest route to California. Shortly after the army established Fort Yuma in 1852.
One of the most famous landmarks is the Yuma Territorial Prison followed shortly by the railroad, which is the basis of the movies “3:10 to Yuma” in 1957 and 2007.
With over 500 years of some of the most Wild West (Southwest) history around, today, Yuma has settled into being one of the strongest agricultural producers in the country. Known as the ‘Winter Lettuce Capital of the World’, agriculture produces an estimated $2.5bln a year into the Arizona economy.
A Few Yuma Ag Facts:
- There are 237,742 acres of farmland in Yuma County.
- Responsible for 90% of all leafy vegetables grown in the United States from November – March.
- During peak production months there are more than 2 million pounds of lettuce harvested per day.
- Over 175 different crops are grown in Yuma year-round including alfalfa, cotton, dates, lemons, and wheat
- Desert Durum accounts for 95% of wheat grown in Yuma County, and about two-thirds of that is exported to Italy for use in making premium pasta.
- Yuma is home to 9 salad plants producing bagged lettuce and salad mixes along with 23 cooling plants.
So, as you are reading this, enjoy your salad and thank a Yuma farmer!!