This area used to be planted to almonds. The topo maps from the US Geological Survey date from the 1940s, and show the whole area as almond orchards. But almonds as a cash crop went into a decline, and the last almond packing plant in Paso Robles closed in the early 1970s.
But the hills still hold the remains of some of the old orchards. Abandoned now, some of the trees continue to hold on, making a brave show each spring despite years of neglect. There are rows of trees on some of the hillsides where it's too steep to get a tractor, and other isolated trees along the creek beds.