In 1884, novel author Helen Hunt Jackson wrote a book about a part-Scottish and part-Native American orphan girl who grows up and gets married in Southern California despite being subjected to severe racial discrimination and difficulty. The community of Ramona was named after this popular book and today is a contributing member to the North County Inland portion of San Diego County. With a population exceeding 36,000 people, Ramona is situated at the foothills of the Laguna Mountains and is east of the city of Poway, east of Escondido, north of Lakeside, and west of Santa Ysabel.
Ramona hosts one of the area’s premier general aviation airports about two miles west of the central business district of Ramona. While the airport is primarily used for private aviation, the state department of forestry uses the field as a fire attack base to battle forest fires across Southern California. The Ramon Air Fair is a popular annual event that gathers spectators from the surrounding areas.
Despite the town’s small size, Ramona has its own high school that boasts a variety of successes in athletics and academics. Ramona High School serves about 3,000 students and has been quite successful in athletics competition and offers over twenty different varsity teams for Ramona’s young adults to participate in. The high school also has an exclusive American Sign Language course available.
Historically, Ramona was once known as the Turkey Capital of the World because of its very strong industry that was featured I annual Turkey Days celebrations and fanfare. Following World War II, the industry suffered significant declines and was completely zeroed out by 1959. This decline led to the growth of chicken egg farming and business that thrived through the 1970s. Only four chicken ranches have survived to this day. The Pine Hills Egg Ranch hosts 1.1 million birds and is the 58th largest of its kind in the nation.
While significant reductions and even eliminations of staple products have hurt the Ramona economy time and time again, the area is still thriving on agricultural products. Today, avocado and citrus orchards can be found across the region and have become the best export from Ramona. More recently, thoroughbred horse breeding has become a popular industry as well.