I lived in the Blossom Valley area for a relatively brief 10 years about 25 years ago. By then, most of the valley had been commercialized with most of the orchards and row crop lands being converted to strip shopping centers, auto rows, and tract developments. During the time I was there, only a few open fields were still around, offering fresh corn and such. Actually, I've just read an interesting pictorial history book about this area, but the book was issued in very limited production so I doubt it's in libraries. If we go back about 150-300 years ago, this area was a corridor for Mexican cowboys to herd cattle up and down the old El Camino Real when it was just a dirt path. The area was dominated as much by the Missionaries as by wide-roaming gentlemen outlaws like the infamous Joaquin Murieta.
By 1848, the US received the Mexican Cession (including California) in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Interestingly many of the original Mexican land rights were retained by the local owners, including the riparian water rights so in contention by the valley's farmers today. Then, in 1849, the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill triggered a gold and immigrant rush. Hundreds of thousands poured into a virtually vacant California with the more level headed buying up large tracts of agricultural land. Many of these were Italian farmers who transformed California into the agricultural powerhouse it still is today. Some of them brought their Missionary wine-making techniques to local vineyards long before French style wine got in vogue. Others planted orchards as the soil supported dozens of types of fruiting trees.
By the end of the 19th century, this area was covered by tens of thousands of acres of apricots, prunes, and other easily sun-dried fruits, along with fresh apples and cherries. Unfortunately, aside from a few train tracks, transportation was very limited and California did not export much. During WWII, the US military had a huge need for food, so many of the local farmers started selling to the US government, which exported the fruit around the world. Afterwards, this area came to be known as the "Valley of Heart's Delight" and a large number of family owned fruit processing plants supplied the world's demand for quality California fruits.
By the 1980s, further immigration from Asia and thriving technology firms like Apple transformed the area yet again into "Silicon Valley". The rapidly escalating cost of living drove the last fruit processing companies into the central valley, where they still operate today from Chico to Bakersfield. Once the processing plants left, the local farmers had no way to process their fruit cost-effectively, so they all sold out to developers.
It's just unfortunate that our local schools don't teach much about our rich history.