The California agriculture industry is one of the biggest in the world. According to the California Agriculture Statistics Review 2013-2014 it is “the country’s largest agricultural producer and exporter….supplying 99 percent or more of the following: almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, grapes (raisins), kiwifruit, olives, peaches (Clingstone), pistachios, plums (dried), pomegranates, rice (sweet), seed (Ladino Clover), and walnuts.” In the central California city of Salinas you will see fields with signs that say “Salinas, Salad Bowl of the World.” Even closer to my home in Southern California you find many farms in Ventura County that produce much of the strawberries, lemons, raspberries and celery of the state.
Then how come I have trouble finding California produce at some of my local markets. Until the other day when I picked up a package of celery off the shelf with a “grown local” label and to my happy surprise the celery was from Santa Cruz. That’s Santa Cruz, California which is located on the coast west of Salinas. And there was some organic lettuce which was from Bakersfield. This is not often the case however. My husband came home with some avocados and when I looked at the label on them I saw they were from Peru. Come on, Peru? It’s not like avocados are out of season here because California avocados are in season year round.
Importing all these fruits and vegetables from other countries does not support local growers and is not good for the environment. Shipping produce in by truck, plane or boat burns up a lot of fuel and adds to air pollution.
If our beautiful state of California grows most of the country’s fruit and vegetables it seems we should be able to supply our own people with all the fruits and vegetables they would ever need.
I plan to continue reading labels and buying as much local organic produce as I can find.