Agriculture

Local farms hurt by lack of workers

Across San Diego County and California, farmers and ranchers face chronic problems in finding and hiring qualified and willing people to work in agriculture, according to a survey conducted by the California Farm Bureau Federation. The informal survey of Farm Bureau members showed that more than half of responding farmers had experienced employee shortages during the past year. The figure was higher among farmers who…


SD County ag reverses two years of decline

Agriculture values in San Diego County returned to their growing ways in the latest annual County Crop Report, increasing by 2.63 percent to nearly $1.75 billion after two years of decline. The report was released Monday, Oct. 2. Total production values were led, as they have been for the last decade, by ornamental trees and shrubs like crepe myrtles and bottle brushes, indoor plants like…


Going organic bananas and coconuts

Not all bananas are created equal. When it comes to organic bananas, Mayra Velazquez de Leon knows that for everyone to understand this, consumers are going to have to strengthen their awareness and education about organic agricultural sustainability, the identifiers of true organic foods and environmental preservation. “Organic really is the whole picture,” she told The Produce News earlier this month. “It is about protecting…


Hold on to your guac, avo prices fall in fall

It’s all about supply and demand in the wonderful world of avocados. Despite a large amount of foreign imports, demand has exceeded supply this year. That means higher prices at the grocery check-out for North County consumers raising the price of guacamole, and such, to record levels this season. As more people are drawn to avocados for their flavor and health benefits, consumption of the…


Carbon farming at Land of Milk and Honey

Montado Farms in Santa Ysabel, operated by Kevin Muno and partners, also known as The Land of Milk and Honey, is on the frontier of a new farming technique dedicated to using soil to remove carbon dioxide from the environment and help reverse the effects of climate change. With a grant administered by San Diego Food System Alliance, Montado Farms is the southernmost outpost in this…


North County avocados in the news

North County San Diego and Temecula account for one-third of all avocados grown in California. The state produces 95 percent of all avocados grown in the U.S. Over the last 10 years, avocado acreage in the county has dwindled from around 30,000 acres to 18,000 acres. and expected to drop to 15,000 acres in the next two years. Total avocado crop value was nearly $198…


Taking root at San Diego farmers markets

Selling directly to shoppers—and meeting face-to-face with chefs and other buyers—is helping keep San Diego farmers afloat amid economic downturns and historic droughts. When Dave Heafner and Leslie Pesic started their DA-LE Ranch in 2003, they were raising hens, pigs, and rabbits and selling to a few customers by pre-order, delivered once a week to the parking lot of the DMV in Santa Ana, California. Now, they…


‘Carbon Farming’ comes to Santa Ysabel

Flowers, avocados, citrus, tomatoes and strawberries are leading San Diego County crops. But carbon? Apparently so. Carbon Farming, a whole-farm approach implementing on-farm practices that increase the rate at which plants transfer carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere to the soil, is about to meet its maker at a Santa Ysabel farm. San Diego Food System Alliance (SDFSA) this week announced a grant that paves the…


Encinitas goes to pot, other Prop 64 tales

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Encinitas leaders this month cleared the way for a commercial marijuana growing industry intended to cater to recreational marijuana users allowed to do their thing this January thanks to passage of Proposition 64 last fall. Recreational marijuana is now the lay of the land. Starting in January, pot and it’s varied forms no longer will…


Send your best, not a pest this holiday

Who would want a homemade holiday fruit basket — with creepy mealybugs? Or a clipping from grandma’s wreath with gypsy moth eggs nestled inside? Giant whiteflies hiding in hand-picked poinsettias, or some tree-killing bacteria in their holiday citrus? Nobody, right? But it can happen. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who will be traveling this holiday season, remember — don’t pack a pest!…