Watsonville is a city in Santa Cruz County, California, United States. The population was 51,199 according to the 2010 census. Located on the central coast of California, the economy centers predominantly around the farming industry. It is known for growing strawberries, apples, lettuce and a host of other vegetables. Watsonville is home to people of varied ethnic backgrounds. There is a large Hispanic population, a small group of Croats, and a Filipino, Caucasian, and Japanese population that live and work in the city.
The Pajaro Valley, wherein Watsonville is located, has a climate that is usually pleasant — around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. This climate makes Watsonville an attractive coastal environment for the neighboring inland communities with very hot summers. The Pajaro Valley Unified School District has an attendance of about 18,000 students kindergarten through 12th grades. There are several private religious-based schools in Watsonville such as Notre Dame School, Monte Vista Christian, Salesian Sisters and St. Francis. There are also several charter schools and the non-religious independent Pre-K through 12th grade Mount Madonna School. These schools provide a wide range of educational options for local families. Watsonville is generally conservative on the political spectrum and average in relationship to the neighboring communities of Salinas, Castroville, and Prunedale. The larger coastal town directly north of Watsonville is the city of Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a draw for many young college students who attend Cabrillo College or University of California, Santa Cruz. Because Watsonville and Santa Cruz are beach towns, they draw many visitors from San Jose and from the Central Valley areas. Like neighboring Salinas in Monterey County, Watsonville produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, primarily apples, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and table mushrooms.
Watsonville is located on the Rancho Bolsa del Pajaro Mexican land grant made to Sebastian Rodríguez in 1837. Judge John H. Watson and D. S. Gregory laid out the town in 1852. Watsonville was incorporated on March 30, 1868.