7 Photos of The South Bay's Agricultural Past

The South Bay area of Los Angeles County is mostly residential and commercial now, but for a very long time it was an agricultural center. From the time the area was settled by immigrants until the mid to late 1900s, there were dairies dotting the landscape, and the whole area was decorated with fields of bright blooms, soon to be sold at wholesale flower markets around the world. Gardena was known for its berries; Lomita for its celery. Though there is still one small agricultural area of Compton, known as Richland Farms, South Bay farm living is overwhelmingly a thing of the past. A few years ago we visited the last of the large Torrance farms as it was shutting down. Today, we go back even further and take a look at the South Bay's agricultural heyday.

A drawing of the M.W. Talbot dairy farm in Compton, c 1880 | Photo courtesy Security Pacific National Bank Collection/LAPL Photo Collection


A Palos Verdes pea farm equipped with a meteorological tower, date unknown | Photo courtesy Security Pacific National Bank Collection/LAPL Photo Collection


Two children, named Aiko and Hiroshi, on their family's Redondo Beach flower farm, c 1920 | Photo courtesy Shades of L.A.: Japanese American Community/LAPL Photo Collection


Orchids in a Torrance hothouse, 1937 | Photo courtesy Security Pacific National Bank Collection/LAPL Photo Collection


A beachside farm in Palos Verdes, 1937 | Photo courtesy Herman J. Schultheis Collection /LAPL Photo Collection


A Torrance farmer, second from left, stands on his property, c 1952 | Photo courtesy Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community/LAPL Photo Collection


Picking carrots on a Lomita farm, 1953 | Photo courtesy Shades of L.A./LAPL Photo Collection


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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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