Tehachapi's early settlers grazed cattle on the abundant grass of the open range until the great droughts of the 1860s & 70s reduced the herds. Herds increased again in the 1880s and large ranches began such as the Hill Ranch, the Tehachapi Cattle Company, John Cuddeback's "Diamond Bar" Ranch, the Cummings Ranch and the Fickert Ranch, with many ranchers also growing grain crops such as wheat and barley.
Antone Pauly came to the Tehachapi area about 1869 to graze flocks of sheep numbering over 3,000. After 1895 large bands of sheep regularly passed through the mountains and were shipped to market by rail from Tehachapi.
In 1880, Moses Hale planted the first orchard when he set out apple trees. By 1891 fruits stands in downtown sold apples to residents and travelers and by 1895 other fruit such as cherries, peaches, apricots, currents and gooseberries were added. In 1909 Bert M. Denison planted the first commercial orchard along Curry Street.
In 1910 the Tehachapi Fruit and Land Company developed 1600 acres adjacent to the town and began irrigation. 1,000 acres subdivided into 10-acre parcels were resold, 500 planted to Barlett pears and apples. By 1930 the lack of attention by absentee owners, escalating property tax and other expenses, water shortages and blight affected the trees, ending the period of great
Potatoes were first planted for seed and to sell in other areas and became an important crop with the outbreak of WWII. In 1950 the planting of alfalfa seed began another agri-industry, that of growing grass seed. Sod grass cultivation began in 1960. With the importation of Feather River water, farmers today continue producing row crops, apples, berries and especially turf.
More recently, wine grapes have been planted in Cummings Valley and there are several wineries and tasting rooms.